Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas After Action Report

He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

Christmas has come and gone. I thought I'd take this opportunity to stick my head up, prove that I'm still capable of producing a post every now and then, and show off some holiday swag.

First up are some Hangar 18 backgrounds; a gift from my brother Bob. Looking forward to putting these to the test. It's probably time to retire my ubiquitous construction paper for everything but WIP shots.

Chinese brushes. That's right... Chinese brushes. Long story short: Kolinsky sable brushes have become difficult to get on this side of the Atlantic due to CITES compliance issues and the unwelcome (and likely unwarranted) attentions of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. I only learned of this when unsuccessfully attempting to replace my tired Windsor & Newton Series Sevens at the local art store.

I have a client, an artist by trade, who, upon learning of my difficulties, kindly set me up with the brushes pictured. The bristles consist of a pliable outer layer overlying a more springy central core. They're larger than what I'm used to but they each come to a very fine point. I'm not sure what to expect but I'm eager to take them out for a test drive.

Lastly, I received my rewards from Fractured Dimensions' Infernal Minions Kickstarter. A whopping, great pile of metal (and a little resin) goodness pictured above.

It just wouldn't feel like Kickstarter without some bad news. In this case it takes the form of two missing miniatures and one set of two multi-part miniatures that arrived lacking heads.

Devils and Miscellaneous

On the plus side of the ledger, these are absolutely brilliant miniatures. The sculptor, Paul Muller, brought his A game and Brett Zeleznik of Fractured dimensions did, and continues to do, a fine job in seeing the campaign through to a successful conclusion.

Fractured Dimensions has been around for a while, but these minis should really put the company on the map when they're released.

Restoring a few toes should fall within my sculpting abilities.

The casting quality is excellent overall. A thorough inspection revealed only one small miscast: some missing toes on one miniature.

Left to right: Heresy, FD, Otherworld, FD, Reaper

Two of the minis caught my attention as having a creepy-obese-clown-ghoul vibe. As I've been amassing a force of Muller sculpted ghouls for some time, they may wind up being re-purposed as undead. As in all things, time will tell. (Did someone say Zomtober 2015?)

Off to the landfill

Monday, December 1, 2014


Normally, two outta' three ain't bad. In this case, it's not so good. I have once again failed to complete this month's Helping Hand Challenge miniature. It's in the works... but not finished.

I spent most of November severely aggravated over CSM's Kickstarter ponzi scheme. Getting fleeced puts one in a decidedly foul mood, I've learned. No point going over old ground but miniature painting simply wasn't in the cards. That said, wallowing in self-pity wears thin eventually.

Long story short: I recovered late, started & finished two miniatures for Naval November, and began work on the HH Challenge mini.

One of the NN minis is shown at the top of the post. The other just managed to get out of frame before the picture was snapped. Slippery devil. They'll both get proper treatment once I've caught up with my Helping Hand commitment.

Speaking of slippery devils, I now close with a picture of Center Stage Miniatures' Matt Solarz.

Hang on to your wallets, miniature fans. Uncle Matt's in the house.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

PTS VI: Mojo Reacquisition

Just a short post to prove that I'm still actively involved in painting miniatures (or prepping and priming them at any rate). I was really in the groove during October hobby-wise. Zomtober was a blast and I was unusually productive both painting and blogging.

That all came to a screeching halt with November and the revelation that Center Stage Miniature's Tome of Horrors Kickstarters were little more than a ponzi scheme. All the smart kids are now of the opinion that funds from those campaigns were diverted to fulfilling the earlier Demons and Devils Kickstarter (LINK).

I'm not a smart kid. I'm just a dope who got swindled.

This concludes the "woe is me" portion of the program.

The bottom line is that my brushes sat idle all month as my heart really wasn't into painting. Hopefully I'm emerging from this fraud-induced funk. Time will tell. If nothing else, there are a few items now on the table awaiting paint.

The Otherworld pack-bearer is part of The Helping Hand Challenge and should be done on time. I also have two minis (not shown) in the works for Naval November, the creation of Roy Williamson over at R.W.'s Hobby Blog.

A sinister form glides behind the unsuspecting pack-bearer.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


The CSM Express is now departing.
Very disheartening news on the Kickstarter front. One may quibble over semantics, but it seems that Center Stage Miniature's Tome of Horrors One and Two projects, and CSM itself, stand on the verge of collapse. A third party (Mortal Arrow LLC, established by a backer of the same name) is in negotiations to acquire the company's assets. Under the terms of one proposed resolution backers would then get to buy the minis at reduced cost (a 2 for 1 credit essentially).

Hardly what I signed on for.

I left the following in the TOH1 comment section earlier today:


I've been watching this slow-motion train-wreck and withholding comment until I had something constructive to contribute. While that hasn't happened, I'll comment anyway.

@Ruth Philips: I shared your friends' misgivings re TOH2 but ignored the red flags and pledged anyway. In fact, I'm in deeper on TOH 2 than TOH1. Hindsight being 20/20, I now see that I was guilty of willful ignorance. I have no one to blame but myself for my involvement in TOH2.

I apologize to anyone whose backing of TOH2 was substantially influenced by my enthusiastic support of the project here, in the TOH2 comment section, and elsewhere.

It occurs to me that Matt might actually be paying the lawyer MA mentions with funds from TOH1&2. All that to negotiate a deal detrimental to those projects' backers. How's that for irony?

I fully expect that I'm wrong on the above point, but given the complete breakdown in communications one is left to speculation. There's nothing like being played for a chump to lead ones mind down dark and unexpected paths.

As for any resolution that leaves Matt obligated to fulfill TOH1&2 commitments, what can be said? I'm sure he'll take such obligations as seriously as he has taken others to date.

I apologize further if the above seems disjointed or excessively caustic. I've not commented in a while and felt the need to vent a bit.

@Mortal Arrow: Thank you for becoming involved. I see you've been accused of being a capitalist. You should wear that as a badge of honor. Had a certain unnamed party gone into this endeavor with more of a capitalistic impulse we might not be in our current predicament.

As you might imagine, I'm not enthusiastic about paying again for something I've already paid for. (and yes, I appreciate that Kickstarters are inherently speculative in nature, not merely pre-order schemes.) That said, my enthusiasm isn't especially relevant here. What is at issue is what can be salvaged from this sorry situation.

Bottom line: I'm inclined to think that your 2 for 1 credit proposal is acceptable assuming that it may be applied to TOH1&2 minis and that said minis will become available in short order.

I'll reserve further comment until a certain unnamed party deigns to descend from Mount Olympus and treat with mere mortals.


Someday my flumphs will come... or not

I used this blog as a platform to promote both projects and apologize to anyone persuaded to support either or both as a result. This applies especially to TOH2, where my enthusiasm for the project caused me to ignore the little voice in my head urging that all was not well.

In retrospect, one should NEVER back a project created by someone who has yet to fulfill one or more other projects. Lesson learned... at considerable expense.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Under the Sea

We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many-columned Y'ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.
H. P. Lovecraft

Under the sea, under the sea
Darlin’ it’s better
Down where it’s wetter,
Take it from me

Howard Ashman

Before Zomtober 2014 shuffles off into the night, there's time for one final post. The mermaid is done and pictured above with the rest of this year's crop. Only four of 'em to be sure, but for me that's a major accomplishment.

I thoroughly enjoyed the event and would like to thank this year's organizer, Simon Quinton from Brummie's Wargaming Blog, for his efforts in making it a success. Well done, Brummie.

Returning to the minis, I'm pleased at how the colors used tie the four together as a group. Thematically, I was working more of the "evil cult" angle as opposed to your classic "zombie apocalypse". As such, I view the poor unfortunates in chains as unwilling sacrifices to some sort of Dagonesque entity whereas the mermaid is a willing recipient of her god's dark blessing.

I have other minis languishing on the lead pile that would work well with the "sea-horror" theme. Perhaps I should have my head examined but I feel another project coming on.

All that remains for the moment however are a a few more pics.

A very merry Zomtober to all and to all a good night

The Dog Ate My Homework

Zomtober 2014 got the better of me I fear, resulting in the delay of this month's Helping Hand Challenge contribution. The completion of both October and November's minis is now a priority.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Zomtober 2014, Week 4

Is it Sunday night already? Drat!

My week four submission (Reaper's Aerakallis, Vampire Mermaid) is progressing nicely but won't be done by midnight I fear. It has reached a good point to share a work-in-progress picture though.

The two minis pictured above use James Wappel's shaded basecoat method. The mermaid has the base colors blocked in and highlighted. What remains to be done is the application of glazes (i.e. carefully targeted washes) to establish the shadows followed by touch-ups and a few details.

The finished zombie on the left shows how glazes really make the highlights pop. Get the shadows sufficiently dark and the highlights look nice and bright by comparison. Painting the negative spaces, as Wappel puts it.

As long as I'm dropping names, the base uses Delaney King's tinted greyscale method as its foundation. For bases, I find it produces great results and, unlike most things involving me and paint, it does so quickly.

I shall endeavor to finish her up, take some pictures of her individually and with the group, and put together a Zomtober wrap-up post by week's end.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Rotting Sea

About, about, in reel and rout  
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white.

I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay. 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

As promised, better pictures of this week's Zomtober miniature:

Some WIPs:

The attachment for the anchor-blade was replaced with part of a paperclip.

More fun with green stuff.
Next up: the leader of this aquatic ensemble.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Zomtober 2014, Week 3

Time got away from me this week, I'm afraid. That said, my week three submission is done save for a coat of matte varnish. Happily, the miniature looks better in real life than in the lousy picture above. A proper post with proper pictures to follow shortly.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

In the Sepulchre there by the Sea

And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

Edgar Allan Poe 

Zomtober rolls on with the second of Wyrd's aquatic zombies painted in similar colors to last week's contestant. Putting a greenish-blue dress on a blueish-green zombie initially seemed dicey but in the end things pulled together nicely I think. 

Paints/washes used on the skin


The sea-creatures-on-the-base theme continues with my tribute to two of the more terrifying figures in today's popular culture.

Gary looks on, transfixed in horror.

I was trying to set a mood when I started this thing. Guess that's shot to hell. 

Some more pictures and I'll be on my way:


Sunday, October 5, 2014

When the Sea Shall Give up her Dead

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
Revelation 20:13

The first Sunday of Zomtober has arrived and it's time to roll out my first mini. I've gone with a maritime theme this year... three Wyrd aquatic zombies and a "boss" character are queued up. The first to receive paint is the bloated fellow shown here.

There's lots of rusted metal to be painted on the Wyrd minis. Hopefully the sea-green fleshtone (aside from being apropos) contrasts well with it. 

The front of the mini is sculpted with repeated ridges and furrows over the entirety of the face, torso, and pants. This didn't leave much room for transitions between highlights, midtones, and shadows in some cases. The back of the mini was considerably less busy and yielded better results with less work.

I sculpted some sea-life on the bases of all the minis. This should provide the chance to add some splashes of color (albeit in washed-out, undead appropriate shades).

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


The linkboy is finished more or less (on time and under budget, as they say). Didn't love the miniature at first but it has grown on me considerably. Having started late on September's Helping Hand Challenge entry, speed became an issue. The result isn't terrible but I'm not entirely happy with it either. With luck, I'll double back and fix a few things in the future.

That's right, the paint on the base is still wet.

Like the basket... hate the flames

Saturday, September 27, 2014

PTS V: Multitasking Mayhem

Facts are facts... I'm a dreadfully slow painter. Taking on a single hobby project with a hard deadline can stretch my meager time management skills past their breaking point and I'm currently up to my armpits in three of the darned things. What was I thinking ;) ?

On the table:

Four Zombies and a Linkboy: The lost sequel to Three Men and a Baby

Project 1: The Helping Hand Challenge. This month's entry: the linkboy. Status: 50%. Due: Tuesday.

Project 2: Zomtober 2014. Status: four minis based and primed. Due: one mini each Sunday in October.

Project 3: Ahklut. Status: No progress since my last post. Due: hope to get it assembled and based ASAP to lend support to Paymaster Game's ongoing Kickstarter. Only eleven more days.

There's something you don't see every day. LINK