Monday, 12 February 2018

Vampire Sportscaster

A mere 15 months after completing his Ogre counterpart, I've wrapped the second of the two sportscasters from Willy Miniatures. One small step for painting, one giant step to wrapping up another project.

I don't like the face on this sculpt, it feels wrong. He should be leering, and the mouth feels a little too big. It's beyond my skill to make it look other than a big happy grin, but there we have it. I did enjoy painting the leather coat, it's another approach to leather in constrast to my other recent projects.

Here's a shot of the pair of them together.

Eagle eyed viewers will notice I've gone back and updated Bob Bifford the Ogre's scarf to match Jim Johnson the Vampire's scarf. Plans are afoot to build a nice sideboard for my Guild Ball games to feature crowd and commentators, but that's way down the list of projects at the moment.

I feel my something-better-than-tabletop painting has come on in the 16 months between them. Especially in trying to build textures. Still a long way to go but it's nice to feel I've progressed.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Space Wolves: Lightning Claws

When my larger, more complex painting projects are going a little slower than desired, I've been dipping back into my Space Wolves box* just to get something completed quickly. These won't be winning awards any time soon but it's nice to shift another model out the backlog and onto the table.

* Okay, it's a massive drawer of Space Wolves. Honestly, I swear they're multiplying when I'm not paying attention.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Grey Horde: January 2018

One challenge I intend to try and keep this year is reducing the Grey Horde sat in cupboards.

Okay, so some of the figures are metal, some are resin - but we're all comfortable with that I'm talking about, right? That pile of unpainted miniatures sat in drawers and cupboards that magically gets larger and larger each year.

Well mine's well into four figures thanks to a few games backed on Kickstarter, and it desperately needs to be reduced because I'm running out of storage space.

Essentially you can reduce the pile by painting, selling or giving away models. You can ensure it doesn't grow by ... not buying any more!

Bought: 13 (from a Kickstarter I backed in 2016)
Sold: 16 Confrontation
Painted: 4 Orruks
Total: -7

So a seven model reduction already! Not a bad start to the year, but there are still eleven more months in the calendar. Long road ahead ...

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Word Bearers: The Test Squad

Since abandoning my Death Guard last year, I've had an interest in starting a Word Bearers force, but this sat on hold while other projects came to the fore.

Plans were accelerated in January by a friend generously donating a whole box of "a few" Space Marines he'd bought as a job lot on eBay and realised would never paint or play. My oldest daughter quickly claimed them for herself, which suited me, and several conversations later she's bought in to the idea of playing the bad guys, in the form of Word Bearers. How fortunate.

Opening the box, I realised my friend's idea of "few" and mine are quite a way from each other. There were about 1500 points of models in the box! Mostly tactical marines, but 15 Terminators, 10 scouts, light vehicles and a couple of dreadnoughts. Here's what the horde looks like when primed up in full.

We had a discussion around what colour to paint the Word Bearers, as the official GW colour scheme is a little too bright for my personal taste and, selfishly, I know these will probably end up back with me in a year or two when she grows bored, so I'd like them in colours that please me.

Over the top of the black, I painted Scarlett Red then highlights sprayed from directly above with Bloody Red, then Bloody Red + Hot Orange. Three hours later we have the semblance of a painted force already!

Man I love my airbrush. Moving this quickly simply isn't possible otherwise.

After that, it's a case of trial and error to establish quick colour schemes. Chainmail Silver on metals. Dark Grey Blue on tubing, English Uniform on pouches, skulls and aquilas, and Goblin Green on lenses and jewels. Let it all dry, smother in Nuln Oil, tidy up a few points and then we're done! Here's how they look when finished up ...

So it's very basic in painting terms, but it's neat, tidy and satisfying to finish a ten-man squad in a single evening. They won't all be at this standard because my daughter will be painting the rest, but it's fun to set a benchmark for her to aim for.

Purists will note there's a myriad of lore issues here. Why are they all in modern armour sets but still wearing Aquilas, purity symbols and other Imperial non-heresy elements? Because my daughter doesn't give two hoots about staying true to canon, she wants things that she loves looking at - and I'm totally fine with that. Also, anyone wearing a helmet and you can't see their face? It's a girl in there. Why? Because my daughter wants girls kicking the butts of my boy Space Wolves. Because girls are better than boys.

Update: Did I accidentally participate in, and complete the #squaduary challenge? I think I did.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz - Summary

So, wrapping up this project, as they're finally finished. This has been a long six or seven weeks since starting this project, but I feel reasonably happy with the outcome.

I've really struggled to come to grips with NMM, had a genuine moment of self-doubt about painting in general, but I'm out the other side and think I understand a few techniques better. That isn't to say it's reflected in all these figures, as half my learnings have come at the end when reviewing what I've done, but future projects will benefit from that experience.

My NMM steel for the weapons isn't consistently convincing, but I'll improve on the next project. The temptation to go back and correct some of the obvious errors like highlight positioning was enormous, but I want to keep moving forward, not going backward.

Colours came together just as I hoped. Faces worked well and as a unit they're visually distinct and different from all the other Ironskull factions I've seen painted up so far.

There are lessons in these figures from the work of excellent painters like Andy Wardle (NMM), David Soper (leather), Darren Latham (skin+faces) and the mysterious Kujo (glazing). The bad parts are all my learnings, and the good parts should probably be credited to them :)

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz - Bonekutta

Probably the best of the NMM steel examples, and I tried a darker armour colour here with harder contrast. Funnily enough, this was the first model finished too.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz - Hakka

For a model with so little face, he's so malevolent. I enjoyed playing with the lighting on the rear of his armour with this one, and just wish I'd done better with the shoulder pads.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz - Gurzag Ironskull

I'm very happy with how the face and cloak turned out here, less so with the steel of the axe.

Improving My Photography (Jan-18)

I've been fiddling with my lightbox to get better photos - something closer to the colours I see when looking at the model. Below is the journey I took with my Ork to get to a good place.

The default option with lightsource above lightbox, diffused.

Changed to increase exposure.

Changed the camera's elevation to be a little higher.

Increased the exposure again, without moving the light source.

Increased f-value to f11 but felt it was leaving the background in sharp focus as well now.

Pushed the light source back to be over the camera instead of over the lightbox. Getting close now.

Realised I'd overcomplicated life a little. Moved the light back to almost overhead the miniature again, and downstepped the exposure.

There will be further adjustments over time, but for the moment this feels pretty good - and gives an accurate representation of what the model looks like in real life. Here's how the camera setup looks in reality.