Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Snail's Pace

Damn, I'm slow. This WIP picture is proof that progress has been made on the troll. Unfortunately, spare time to work on him has been in short supply lately. One big push is needed to complete him.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Saving Face

As promised, I have returned with details about what I was working on before my Summer hiatus. The last minis I completed prior to going AWOL were the two Otherworld trolls; excellent sculpts that include a wealth of conversion and customization potential. One neat feature is that each model provides a choice of two heads. Consequently, I was left with a surplus of troll noggins in my spare parts drawer.

At this point, a box lot of minis won on eBay some time ago entered into the equation. Among its various items was a Ral Partha troll from 1982 of the proper size to comfortably accept an OW head. The old mini had a separate head and body configuration that would facilitate a straightforward head-swap.

Normally I'd tend to shy away from major conversion work on a classic mini. In this case, I was prepared to make an exception. I remember this guy from when he first appeared in RP's catalog. My initial impression remains to this day: I like everything but the head.

Beyond producing a figure more to my tastes by merging old and new, there was another benefit to this conversion. I already had two completed OW trolls in my collection. The RP troll, with its extremely long arms and oversized claws, is quite distinct from OW's interpretation. By mounting an OW head in place of the original, a strong family resemblance would be created.

A soak in Simple Green made short work of a scruffy coat of primer. In order to turn the head I cut away the original neck and replaced it with a bent piece of wire. Despite my preference for round bases, a square one is needed to accommodate the left arm. The RP mini includes what seems to be aquatic vegetation draped over its body, as though it has just emerged from the water. What we have here is a freshwater scrag or river troll; the creature from folklore that dwells beneath bridges and waylays unwary travelers.

I intended to cut away the original base and mount the mini on a stone floor similar to the OW trolls; a major undertaking. I see now that doing so would carry the family resemblance concept to excess. A base is the chance to depict a mini in its environment; to place it in context. This fellow belongs on a river bank, not in a dungeon.

Summer's over. Time to get cracking.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Yikes! It's been a while. As for how I spent my Summer, no vacation I'm afraid, and, more to the point, no miniature painting either. Once the weather warmed up I put down my brush and spent some time in the fresh air, removed from the dank confines of my paint cave. As the above photo shows, I also found time to flout State liquor laws. Throw in work, travel time, and the fact that my ancient dremel crapped out, and you wind up with a serious lack of movement on the miniatures front.

Enough with the excuses already! When my dremel bought the farm I had a project in the works that required a motor-tool and made use of a spare Otherworld troll head. As this is more of a yes, I'm still alive sort of post, I'll save the details for next time.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mission Accomplished

Success! (...I think.) The Otherworld trolls are done. It took longer than anticipated and maybe I should have done a few things differently but I'm happy with how they turned out. Pictures can be found here.

As for my "make it up as I go along" painting technique, I convinced myself that large scale drybrushing could produce satisfactory results despite all evidence to the contrary. In the end I may have been right, but a lot of glazing was required to soften the harshness of the drybrushing.

I took pictures as I went along. The first step, black undercoat:

Next, dark green basecoat:

Drybrushed with progressively lighter tones all the way up to straight yellow:

Green & yellow ink wash:

More drybrushing, this time taking it all the way to white:

More ink, a lighter application this time:

Extensive glazing with Scorpion Green (GW) in an attempt to tie everything together:

Some glazing with Golden Flesh (Reaper) and Warlock Purple (GW):

Additional details:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reinventing The Wheel

I'm still plodding along with the trolls. Aside from everyday life eating into my painting time, I'm still learning how best to use acrylic paints. It's a big change from enamels. At times I feel as though I'm making progress and at other times I wonder if I should find a new hobby.

My "style", such as it is, seems to consist of a demolition derby of techniques: drybrushing, washes, layering, etc.. In particular, layering seems to be an important skill to master. I used it on the nose and tongue of the mini pictured here and was pleased with the results.

Both trolls are almost finished at this point. All that remains is touch-ups and varnishing. To borrow an old movie line, "I shall endeavor to persevere."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Go Green

Happy Earth Day y'all. To commemorate this most holy of holidays I generally hug a tree or sing carols in front of Al Gore's house. This year I'm breaking with tradition and striping the paint off an old miniature instead. I've read tutorials on the subject but, prior to my current experiments, have never attempted it.

"Am I missing something?", you wonder. "How is this in any way related to Earth Day?", you ask. Well, if you'd quit butting in with so many questions, I'll tell you. The Earth Day tie-in lies in the fact that I'll be using Simple Green, an eco-friendly cleaning product, rather than one of its harsher alternatives.

Today's test subject is this Ral Partha miniature acquired via eBay as part of a lot auction, fittingly encased in a thick coat of kelly-green enamel. A trial-run on a couple of the less desirable minis from the lot yielded satisfactory results. I'll repeat the method and hope for a similar outcome.

The procedure used was as follows:
  1. Pour enough Simple Green into a metal can to cover mini
  2. Place mini into can
  3. Cover can and and allow to soak for 2 days
  4. Use a stiff brush, toothpick, and running water to remove paint
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until desired results are achieved
This is how our subject looks after 3 baths. Not too bad. I initially used an old toothbrush to remove the paint but later supplemented this with a vegetable brush. Its longer, stiffer bristles seemed well suited to the task at hand. A toothpick proved useful in picking paint out of otherwise inaccessible recesses. A strainer in the sink is recommended so that any slip-ups won't result in a mini disappearing down the drain.

Well, I'm off to spend the rest of this Earth Day painting trolls and contemplating my carbon footprint. Hopefully I'll have more to report on the trolls in time for my next post.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Troll Teaser

The two trolls offered by Otherworld are my current project. Progress has been slow but steady and they're just about ready for some paint. These minis are excellent sculpts, really have an old school feel, and offer a built in option for customization.

Each comes with two heads and seperate arms, all of which are designed to work equally well with the other model. I took advantage of this and used a head and both arms from troll I on troll II's body and vice-versa. Some filing and green stuff was needed in the end as I further altered the positioning of the arms. The use of wire pins at the shoulder joints helped to line everything up properly. Hopefully the resulting poses capture the essence of troll; one charging headlong into the fray and the other (pictured above) having just fixed his gaze on his next meal.

I'm still debating whether to go with a standard green color scheme or take a stab at the "putrid gray" mentioned in the first edition Monster Manual. While I"m trying to make up my mind, these WIP pictures may help to pass the time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Shadow of the Past

I come before you today bearing eye-candy. As promised, the current post includes pictures of miniatures that I painted back in the day… the 1980’s… when the A-team still walked the earth and enamel paints ruled. For starters, here’s a link to a thread on the Otherworld Miniatures forum where I posted a few examples a while back.
But wait, there’s more! I’ve honed my puny photographic abilities somewhat since then through trial-and-error and the receipt of a tripod for Christmas. At this point, pride of authorship tempts me to shout something cheesy like, “Feast your eyes on these!”, but journalistic integrity compels me to keep my composure. At any rate, here is a new batch to look at: link. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Getting My Feet Wet

So, here it is. My blog. My first attempt at one of these things. Should anyone else ever read this, please bear with me. As the snappy subtitle implies, my focus will be the miniature hobby; gaming miniatures to be more precise. I recently reentered the hobby after a long absence so before going on to new business it may be worthwhile to present samples of my older work. I’ll see about dusting off some of my old lead in time for my next update.