Friday, September 30, 2011

First Stab At 15mm SciFi

Does this guy scream 1980 scifi or what?
I am not displeased at how this power armored soldier turned out. He's about 14mm from feet to top of head, so I'm critiquing my performance accordingly. Of course I picked white for his scheme. I mean if you are going to try a new scale, why not pick a color you have historically struggled with, am I right?

The arms on this sculpt are mysterious. They don't seem to have hands, and all I can assume is that the length from elbow to terminus conceals a hand underneath. Some of the other sculpts for the game have exquisitely sculpted hands, so I can guess it's all by design.

So one down, thirty-nine to go! Only twelve of the forty are similar to this fellow. Of the others, twenty-two are far more human looking (militia) and another six are wearing a lighter armor (planetary guard.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tiny Dudes with Tiny Guns

I have decided that 28mm is too easy, and so I am painting some 15mm sci-fi minis. I painted some at lunch today, although I can't say I covered a lot of real estate in an hour. Giant 28mm fig included in the pic for scale. I can't even imagine what painting 54mm must be like. I'm not sure I even own brushes that big!

More to come, if I can overcome my basic lethargy. I'm still keeping the name of the game my little secret (like anybody cares) in the hopes that someone might stumble upon my pics and have an "ah ha!" moment.

Oh, and the first person to lecture me about size of mini not making painting any easier officially unlocks both the "tl;dr" and "fail sarcasm" achievements on my blog.

Weekly Hobby Group - Really Small Minis and Nearly Done Kroot-a-saurus?

Kell Bailoch towers over the tiny hordes of 1980
Seth and Jimmy were in attendance for last night's weekly hobby bonanza. Coffee was consumed.

In the true spirit of hobby ADD, I dug out a 31 year old game I have stashed in the basement and decided to base its 40 minis. Super-double-kudos if anyone can figure out from the photo what the game is. They are really nice 15mm sculpts, and I plan on channeling my inner NSA to try and paint them.
Kroot-a-saurus really needed knee pads
Jimmy put even more work in on Kroot-a-saurus. It's getting quite armored now. I seriously wonder if it's close to completion, or if Jimmy will just keep adding things until the original dinosaur toy is entirely obscured. (Kidding!)

Seth continued work on his FW Chaos Dwarfs. He's trying to get a recipe for the red armor that he likes, including how to blend to the shade colors. It's looking really good! I really should get a picture of WIP some day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gremlins Done Blowed Up Stuff

I got a game of Malifaux in at RIW last night against Jake's Ophelia list. I have Nicodem, Mortimer, 2 Belles, 2 Flesh Constructs and a convict gunslinger against .... well, a lot of gremlins but no pigs. Scenario was "Shared A Line in the Sand" and Jake took attacker. We flipped corner deployment, and he placed the dynamite counters all within one half of the board.
Nico and Mortimer hang back and let the other models
knock each other around a little.
Gremlins are hilarious to play against. Their triggers, abilities and special rules all read like a comedy routine. They appeal to me for the same reason that Skaven appeal to me in Warhammer fantasy. They can be incredibly destructive or humorously self-destructive. Jake ended up doing about as many wounds to his models through "Reckless: Fast" as I did with attacks. The dynamite counter needed only a (1) interact to arm but a (2) interact to disarm, so I was constantly trying to get into position to be able to disarm the next turn (since disarming uses an entire activation normally.) Gremlins, on the other hand, can move 10" and still arm a counter, provided they take a wound from "Reckless: Fast."  By the way, Punk Zombie + Bolster Undead is such a good combo.
The corpse counters are started to accumulate, but
the dynamite is now armed!
Even with Nicodem raising Punk Zombies and Flesh Constructs, I still couldn't keep up. We both were able to achieve our schemes (I took Army of the Dead and Bodyguard: Nico, and he took Hold Out and Bodyguard: Ophelia) so the game came down to scenario VP's. If the game had gone to turn 8 (not likely) I probably could have disarmed another counter to tie. I made a fairly egregious tactical error by summoning a flesh construct near the end of the game when I really needed something to disarm counters. The flesh construct started slow (because he was summoned) then proceeded to walk toward the nearest enemy due to "Ceaseless Advance" in the start closing phase. If I had summoned a model that had stayed put (or if I had conveniently forgotten about ceaseless advance) he could have disarmed the counter on turn 7 for the draw. I also should have summoned a model specifically for running into his deployment zone and denying him the 2vp for the Hold Out scheme.

In other news I was able to pick up Twisting Fates (Malifaux book 3) and talk to Bowen a little bit about it. Bowen brought his Nightmare Edition Lord Chompy Bits and played on a Terraclips board, which was an impressive sight. NELCB is huge, seriously 4x the mass of the standard model. Bowen has a distinctive painting style and did a great job on the model, but did I get a picture? Noooooo.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lunchtime Sorrow and Kell Bailoch

Bill worked on the smoke effect for the Sorrow today. Yes, the photo is overexposed. It looks quite nice in person, with a base color of Reaper leather white, blending into the snot green of the body with skull white highlights. He's calling this one done so he can move onto the next Sorrow (of 3.) Basing is still indeterminate.

I worked on Warmachine mercenary sniper Kell Bailoch. After all that talk about Eldar and all the work on the Belles, why Kell today? I have no idea. I honestly have no idea.

What I can't show you is the work I am doing for this year's Rotten Harvest painting competition. The entries cannot have ever been shown online or in print, so I must remain stealthy... for now.  This seems strange, since normally I am about as stealthy as a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Harlequin Departs!

I am finally sending Tristan (of GWPertinent) the Harlequin I painted for him. Here he is, photographed warts and all. The white bit on his left foot is a bit of reflection rather than missing paint, and it caused me to panic for a bit when I first saw the photo. Considering this is a piece for a Necromunda gang, I gave him a healthy coat of Minwax Polycrylic lacquer for protection, then used Testor's Dullcote to remove the shine. Along with the Harlequin I am including a Warlock Engineer for Tristan to paint for me. Some of my favorite models are the ones painted or converted for my by other people.

This was quite an enjoyable mini to paint, although I can't really say I had a complete vision in mind when I started. The paint job definitely evolved over time. Purple and yellow complement well, but doing the shirt purple seemed uninteresting. The blue seemed a good contrast to the red sash, but it was too stark, so I added the stripes. Only later did I notice that "tiny power fist" included a portion of the arm that I had painted as shirt. Changing that part of the sleeve to yellow/gold would have really changed the symmetry of the figure, so I decided to leave it as is. Why can't tiny power fist realistically be partially blue with stripes? When exactly did Space Elf Clowns start to seem unrealistic to you? Completing this fellow also has me thinking more and more about painting more than one model for my own Eldar army.  Of course I never play, but I like the idea of painting them...

So there you have it! I look forward to seeing his adventures against the rival gangs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lunchtime Painting - A Lesson In Insufficient Light

I have a few regularly scheduled painting times per week. Monday and Wednesday on my lunch hour and Wednesday night. The work lunch hour schedule is a new one set up for painting with a friend who is on-campus two days a week. He bought a Pandora "Legion of Sorrows" box (along with other Neverborn models) and plans on painting the box during his 15 week classes. I have been taking the opportunity to teach him what I can about technique. One lesson I was reminded of today is "don't skimp on lighting." Bill is actively seeking to become a better painter, and his Sorrow (middle) is coming along nicely. My Belles show the sorts of mistakes and ham-handed highlighting that is common with basic room lighting. I have a goose-neck lamp with a CF bulb in my office, which I let Bill use. I actually have a fluorescent strip light that I can use on the other part of my desk, but did not remember it until long after vandalizing the Belles as I did.

Tonight I will get the good lamp out and the magnifying headset and try to fix the highlights on the purple Belle's dress. I will also endeavor to make Blondie's eyes look less..... wrong. Sure, she's a zombie but those eyes just don't look intentional. It really is my #1 rule of painting... whatever you do must look intentional.

In other news, after the figs shown I have only 5 unpainted Malifaux models for my Rezzer army. Time to get out that credit card! I could probably use a couple more Macaw Vultures.....

Oh, and I have found that the purple background makes photography with the crappy phone camera (HTC Evo 4G) so much easier.  Here it is for your download and printing pleasure. Put the miniatures at the bottom and incline the rest no more than about 30 degrees to avoid light reflecting from overhead.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ruinous Powers Grocery?

My painstaking research is complete, and I have come to the only reasonable conclusion. My local Kroger has turned to Chaos. "Certainly not Kroger," you scoff. "Are they not a purveyor of fine foodstuffs, including affordable Kroger brands?"

Let us consider the evidence.

At first glance, this appears to your average sign announcing to the world that fine groceries, produce and sundries may be purchased within, but upon closer inspection we find...
Spiky bits! The whole sign is covered with spikes, presumably a mutation provided by the dark gods when Kroger gave their devotion, indeed their souls, to Chaos!

The far entrance, like the main sign, looks innocent enough. "Clearly if it is food you seek, here you will find satisfaction," it beckons.

But no! More spikes! The only food you will find is the taste of your tears as you fall before the unstoppable hordes of the Ruinous Powers!

A closer inspection below the "food" sign reveals the image of some dark goddess or daemon! Could this be the work of Slaanesh?! Or is the entire pantheon of Chaos in league to corrupt this establishment?

Shameless! They are even advertising that they will intentionally inject flu viruses into your very blood! There can be no mistaking the noxious touch of Nurgle upon this wretched place!

The final piece of evidence. The siren song of Chaos, set before man to appeal brazenly to his basest of instincts. "Buy one," the seductive voice croons, "and get one free." Who can resist this foul temptation?

On the down side, I will have to start looking for another grocery store at which to shop. The =I=nquisition will undoubtedly have  purged this one by the time I need groceries again. I suppose I should be happy that it's not just planet-wide Exterminatus. I must remember to look on the bright side.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Opportunity For Improvement

Steve brought in his Nikon again today. I knew the Belle needed some fixin' up, but ... wow. We created a custom backdrop, since all the cool kids on CMON are using purple in the top 10. Dramatic as it is, I don't think it would elevate the Belle's score at all.

I decided to point out the flaws, so that in future posts you can critique my improvement. They are many and varied. Well, not that varied. The base is also a custom job that was meant to resemble my resin bases from Secret Weapon. Justin is in no danger of losing business from my homemade bases, that's for sure.

For reference, here is the same model from my HTC Evo 4G phone camera.
EDIT: It's also pretty clear from looking at the model that she must be wearing some sort of corset. Two -thirds of the breast volume is above the material, so my choosing to paint the material sheer was ill considered.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Need: Miniature Bat Wings

Does anyone know how I can get miniature bat wings.  Something 1/4" to 1/2" long (.6cm-1.3cm) per wing would do the trick.  Thanks!

The Eerie Silence After 9/11

This picture does not convey the sober
tone of the post, but I loved the image
as a child.
Ten years ago I heard an NPR news report on my morning commute that some sort of aircraft had hit the World Trade Center. I was not immediately alarmed by this, since I had very recently read of another aircraft striking a New York building. When I arrived at work, a coworker asked me if I was aware of what was happening and informed me that a second place had hit. We decided to walk to the McKenny Union (the nearest place on campus we knew of that had decent TV reception) to watch the news. A crowd had gathered around the TV's, which were high enough that everyone could see, and we watched almost silently until the collective gasp when people realized the the South Tower was collapsing (it wasn't immediately clear what was going on when it started to collapse.)

I want to convey the confusion of that day to those of you who were too young to really grasp it at the time. We had absolutely no idea what was going on, or what the scope of it was. I heard a remembrance over the weekend of a man who was in Ukraine at the time, and all he saw were videos and images of buildings and explosions and fires. To him and his travelling companions, unable to understand the audio of the news stories, it looked like every city in the U.S. had been attacked. To those of us huddled before TV's on that day, we wondered if that was going to happen. Tension and uncertainty remained even after it was clear that the attacks were complete. I remember one of my coworkers saying, "The first person who makes a joke about this gets punched in the stomach."

In the days following the attacks, all U.S. commercial aircraft were grounded. My workplace and home are in the flight path of passenger and commercial airports. Seeing and hearing planes, and a sky filled with contrails, are commonplace here. The complete lack of all civilian aircraft during those days was eerie, evocative of a time at night when all the crickets and frogs suddenly go silent. The sky was clear and free of the normal vapor evidence of air traffic. It looked like air technology had been set back 100 years.

Even after the air traffic started again, we found ourselves pausing when an aircraft passed over. Conversation would stop until it had passed. It was months before we stopped reacting to anything passing overhead.

Oh, and it only took until Wednesday for someone to make a joke about it. We were sitting in the break room flipping through channels on the crappy TV there to watch any news, but stopped trying and left the TV on "J.J. the Jet Plane" on the local PBS affiliate. A coworker (Sheila) asked, "They aren't going to crash into any buildings are they?" We all just stared at her. Sure, some people react to stress differently than others. Other people are just idiots. Nobody got punched.

Friday, September 09, 2011

...And Rankin/Bass Begat GW Orcs?

John@Plastic Legions mentioned the 1977 Hobbit cartoon created by Rankin/Bass in a recent post, and it inspired me to post something I've been thinking for a while.

What was the artistic interpretation of Orcs prior to Warhammer? I know Warhammer Orcs aren't Middle Earth Orcs, but we can agree that there is definite artistic lineage between the two. So let's take a look at a few pieces of art separate from the GW interpretation.

Captured by Orcs
The Hildebrandt brothers had an animal-snouted impression of Orcs. This reminds me a lot of the artwork for Orcs in the Dungeons and Dragons books I had in the early 80's.
The Great Goblin
John Howe's Goblin King interpretation is more human looking, and is closer in line with the artwork for Grom the Paunch than anything else I've seen in GW terms. The goblins to the lower right look somewhat in line with earlier edition GW goblin artwork I've seen.

Rankin/Bass Goblin

Rankin/Bass Goblin King
Rankin/Bass took a very different approach that suited their animation style better. The design of these creatures fascinated me as a child, especially since I hadn't read Tolkien but loved fantasy. That said, what they did with Gollum's design was.... regrettable. (But, oh my, Brother Theodore's voice acting of Gollum is a thing of pure beauty.)

And now we come to the current look of GW Orcs, represented by the artwork from the last army book, the image on the Warboss box and an Orc Shaman mini.
7th ed. GW Orcs & Goblins book cover

GW Orc Warboss box

GW Orc Shaman

They certainly seem much more in line with the Rankin/Bass imagery than any of the others I found. What artwork depicting Tolkien Orcs have you run across, and how similar to GW Orcs is it?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Weekly Poor Photography Update - Nurgle!

If you don't like the blurry photo, just pretend
Papa Nurgle gave you some seeping eye disease.
Jimmy stopped by tonight to work on Kroot-a-saurus, which got some armor updates.

I worked on Angelos's Forge World Nurgle Chaos Sorcerer. I've been working on this guy on and off since Sunday, and I'm very fond of how he's coming along. I need to paint all the bony spikes coming out of him, and give some love to the Nurglings on the model. I wanted some positive texture on the spearhead, so I applied some watered down Vallejo Black Lava selectively. I really liked the result.

An observation about FW resin... dip a bent spearhead into some heated water and it will immediately straighten from just gravity. Seriously, this stuff gets soft with heat.

Oh, I was supposed to ship Tristan's Harlequin tomorrow, but he's not packed to go. Curse my meandering thought process!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Weekly Hobby Group: Kroot-a-saurus Coming Together

 Kroot-a-saurus looks nearly done to me, which probably means that he only looks 60% done to Jimmy (aka "King Kitbash.") Tonight he magnetized the top turret and attached both... sponsons? I dunno, what would you call the little booms with Kroot gunners on them?

 I managed getting quite a bit done on a Malifaux Punk Zombie and Crooked Man. Jimmy, Seth and I spent a lot of time just gabbing yesterday, so I'm surprised I got as much done as I did. All that's left to paint in my Malifaux crew are the three belles (one is WIP below) another Punk Zombie and Crooked Man, half a nurse and two more Canine Remains. Well, not counting the Nightmare Teddy, Dead Justice and Miss Demeanor I picked up GenCon weekend. I really want to sculpt a second Teddy to use the alternate head supplied, but multiple Teddies implies I'm starting a Dreamer list, doesn't it? (Resist, Mike. Resist.)

Seth mostly worked on some wood (shields?) on Harry the Hammer's base. I don't know if I mentioned it previously, but he got some Forge World Chaos Dwarfs that he's been painting and the models are fantastic.
I finished the back of Tristan's Harlequin. One more good inspection for mistakes and I think he's as good as in the mail. The polyurethane coating (Minwax Polycrylic clear gloss) seemed to have worked, since I haven't knocked any more paint off the model despite quite a bit of handling. A little Testors DullCote takes the shine form the polyurethane off nicely.