Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Good, The Bad, And The Fugly

Happy New Year to one and all!

With 2014 fast approaching, the goal of averaging two posts per month has been met with this, the twenty-fourth post of the year.

I'm tempted to stop right here. While achieving my post goal with a post that says nothing more than, "Cool, I met my post goal" may appeal to my inner comedian, it hardly makes for compelling reading. (Sorry inner comedian. Better luck next year.)

Instead, I offer a few thoughts on the highs and lows from the past year.

The Good 
  • Blogging : I've enjoyed taking a more active interest in my own blog and those of others. Seeing what other members of the community are doing is a blast in its own right. Plus, it's often just the kick in the ass that this terminal procrastinator needs to get on with it.
  • An Embarrassment of Riches : These are wondrous times in which we live! It seems as though every time I turn around another miniature company is offering a new, shiny object that I can't live without. Case in point: RuneCast Miniatures - a new company whose first few minis were hard (as in impossible) to resist. 
Welcome To The Lead Pile
  •  Windsor & Newton Brushes. I finally broke down in 2013 and spent a little more for some decent brushes. The difference is like night and day. 

The Bad
  • Second Verse, Same as the First; Bound to Be Better... Unless it's Worse : One word says it all... BONES. I might easily have gone for two words, in which case BONES would have been preceded by a colorful expletive. Forgive my lapse. Please feel free to insert the expletive of your choice. For more Bones related frustration see my rant from earlier this year.

    The Fugly
  • The Never Ending Story : I'm still waiting on my rewards from four crowdfunding projects. Two appear as though they will experience minor delays.  The other two are currently overdue by six months and approximately a year respectively. It's enough to sour one on the whole shebang.

Here I might continue with a peek at what I'm currently working on but my inner comedian informs me that one should always leave the audience wanting more. With that in mind, I'll conclude simply by saying, Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Silly Rabbit

Death awaits you all.
A rabbit may seem an odd starting point for monster creation. (Unless you're a carrot; rabbits scare the hell out of carrots.) Nonetheless, various folklore traditions and taxidermists provide a surprisingly varied collection of horned and/or winged chimera-bunnies (Sweden's Skvader, Germany's Wolpertinger, America's Jackalope to name a few).

Alan Hunter illustration from Fiend Folio
Not to be outdone, the Fiend Folio throws the Al Mi'raj into the mix. I foolishly believed that this was a recent hybridization in the spirit of the Owl-Bear... take a rabbit, slap a unicorn's horn on its noggin, and call it a day. It turns out this critter can be traced back to the Mid-East as detailed on Wikipedia. Cool.

Cool too is the fact that Wyrd produces a Jackalope mini perfectly suited for a simple Al Mi'raj conversion. Nasty, big, pointy teeth (to quote Tim the Enchanter), an aggressive stance, and separate antlers were all selling features. A winged unicorn from Mirliton, earmarked for another conversion, provided the horn.

Step one: drill a hole in the forehead just forward of where the antlers would go.

Step two: carve the lower section of the horn into a post that fits into the hole. Attach with super-glue.

Step three: Some putty work.

Painting was very straightforward. The source material indicated a pale coloration with a black horn. The spotted coat seen in some illustrations was intriguing but in the end I kept it simple.


The Wyrd mini was fun to work with and is just a pair of wings shy of the dreaded Wolpertinger, undisputed king of all rabbit-monsters. I'll save that for another day though. Right now I have a post-operative unicorn and several half painted minis vying for my attention.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fiend Folio Update

The Fiend Folio Project rolls on with the completion of two Fenris gorilla bears.

Painting their faces was thoroughly enjoyable but concerns over whether their fur looked too bland caused some agita for me. Ultimately I convinced myself that the fur looked fine and moved on.

 A verdant forest/jungle look was the goal so everything but the kitchen sink (including some scavenged aquarium plant bits) went onto the bases. The purple flower is from a model railroad store. 

Elsewhere, Center Stage miniatures revealed the first of two Dire Corby greens as part of their Tome of Horrors Kickstarter. Sculptor Drew Williams did an outstanding job. As a project backer I'm in line for this and other forgotten FF classics. (Sadly, the flumph is still under wraps.)

Because my lead-pile isn't nearly vast enough (yeah, right), I picked up a couple items with Fiend Folio potential. Chief among these is a Wyrd jackalope with "al'miraj" written all over it. I ask you, what miniature collection could be called complete without at least one  killer-unicorn-bunny?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Shamble On

Too late for Halloween, another Heresy zombie limps into view. He did his best to be punctual, but it would seem that undeath takes a toll. The old boy just doesn't get around as well as he used to.

This was an exercise in producing results comparable to the first Heresy zombie from a couple weeks ago. They were painted entirely separately and, to my eye, match up nicely.

Less pleasing is the white, comma-shaped marking on his shin. I could try to pass it off as necromantic sigil of some sort; an unholy symbol of great power.  In truth, I slopped some paint in the wrong spot while finishing the base and only noticed while I was taking pictures. Oops.

I'll touch that up while painting the final two minis from the blister. Speaking of which, here they are in various stages of completion:

Left) Primer, Center) Basecoat, Right) Near completion

Before proceeding, I'll likely finish the owlbear and two gorilla bears that spent October on the back-burner. More on that next time.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Problem Child

Another Heresy zombie completed. Muted most of the colors by mixing in some grey. The skin-tone is a mix of P3 Carnal Pink and Reaper Military Blue.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Week Late And A Zombie Short

"A man's got to know his limitations" 
Dirty Harry

Zombtober is upon us. The thought of participating was tempered by a dose of reality: the odds of me painting one of anything, each and every week for a month, is negligible. That said, the proceedings have put me in the mood for some zombie-painting, so I directed my brush towards this Paul Muller sculpt from Heresy.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Successful Failure

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
Winston Churchill 

I have crashed and burned in my efforts to finish the three minis intended for Otherworld's September painting challenge on time. Not the first time something like this has happened, nor will it be the last.

I'm not going to hang my head over it though. The minis are looking good and I'm enjoying myself. I call that success.

The two gorilla-bears are just about done while the owl-bear needs a fair amount of work:

Painting fur gives me trouble and I spent way too much time on it in this case. Painting faces seems to be something I'm pretty good at and I spent way too much time on it as I was having way too much fun. (Not to mention the hope that well executed faces might divert attention from large expanses of unremarkable fur.)

Without really meaning to, I drifted into jack-o-bear territory as the flesh-tones used come across as a bit orange. I steadfastly refused to complete the effect with glowing eyes and instead used actual gorilla eyes as my inspiration.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Gorilla My Dreams


The Fiend Folio Project stands to gain two new members; a pair of gorilla bears to be precise. The manufacturer (Fenris Games) calls them pumpkin-head-bears . In other words, they're meant as Rune Quest jack-o-bear analogs. The miniatures blend ape and bear features and if I avoid painting their heads like jack-o-lanterns they should meet my needs quite nicely.

I'm trying to finish these two and an Otherworld owlbear before month's end so I'll keep this brief and to the point.

Some pictures:
Parts breakdown
Assembled minis
Grey plumber's putty used to elevate part of base
Base after a good deal of sanding
Basing grit added
Some putty-work on the owlbear
Primed and ready
Possible reference

Monday, September 9, 2013

This Little Light Of Mine

When Summer began, I had five miniatures primed and awaiting paint. The plan was to complete them all by the end of June. Where does the time go? It's September already and I've only just finished the fourth.

Quick I ain't.

Figure number four is part of Gamezone's Landwehr III blister. I see him not as a mere peasant but rather as a cleric/monk with a drunken-master vibe: the besotted agent of a higher power, following his calling armed with faith, an improvised weapon, and an ample supply of booze.

I originally intended to have him going toe-to-toe with an Otherworld type II demon thusly:

I experimented with a few things on this mini; most notably OSL (object source lighting). This took a couple tries as initial attempts using Vallejo florescent yellow paint produced consistently awful results. In the end I went with a more subtle look and P3 Sulfuric Yellow.


I'm in line for a DVD on how to paint OSL from a recent Kickstarter campaign. It can't get to my door quickly enough. I'd really like to add this technique to my bag of tricks.

With the changing of the seasons,  I'm eager to move on to some new miniatures. (Plus I still have that pesky fifth miniature to deal with.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bones Tutorial Video

I should have known better. The warning signs were there.

Having succumbed in small measure to bones-mania by purchasing two newly arrived Bones minis from my LGS, I must report that I am disappointed.

Here is where I launch into a diatribe against the minis in question. Having started to do just that, I realized that A) I was coming across as a wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth, crazy-person, and B) my criticism was off target as I am really not the consumer for whom  Bones miniatures are intended.

To point A: While I may actually be a wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth, crazy-person, I try to conceal this fact whenever possible.

To point B: Bones are meant for gamers, not painters. They may be made from a very flexible, almost rubbery, plastic, lack the crisp detail of metal or resin minis, feature mold lines that are difficult to deal with effectively, and suffer from mis-molded details here and there, but they are cheap. In this case cheap carries the day. 

The Face That Launched A Thousand Frustrations

As Adam and Jamie learn in the video above, it actually is possible to polish a turd. I must concede that the problem may lie in part with my unfamiliarity with the material (cheap, bendy plastic that is; not lion dung). With that in mind, I'm putting my ill-considered purchases aside for now. Hopefully I'll come back to them someday, armed with better info on how to turn them into acceptable minis.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stadium Seating

No more fumbling through a drawer full of paint to find that needed color. Drawers are acceptable vessels for the storage of paint but fail miserably on the retrievability scale.

In an attempt to rectify the problem, I have cobbled together my very own DIY paint rack from Elmers's Foamboard. If I had to do it over again I'd think through the design of the side panels a bit better, but other than that I'm happy with the result.


One thing I definitely wouldn't change is the material used. The foamboard turned out to be perfect for this application; sufficiently rigid, easily cut and glued together.

It appeals my cheap side too. The finished rack holds more paint than commercially available versions that cost three times as much.