You'll find a little of everything here. Genres covered in this blog include (so far) prehistorics, fantasy, old west, swashbucklers, pulp, Blood Bowl, Ghostbusters, gladiators, nautical, science fiction and samurai in 6mm, 15mm, 28mm, 40mm, 42mm and 54mm sizes. You'll also find terrain, scenery, basing, gaming, modeling, tutorials, repaints, conversions, art and thoughts in general about the hobby.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

42mm Samurai: Gone fishing

Busy week at work kept me form the painting table until today. This fisherman was converted from a brand new figure in Steve Barber's 42mm samurai range. The original figure is a baggage carrier for a kago/norimono retinue, but it is easily convertible into a few different figures.

Here, instead of baggage, I've given him a rod (made from brass rod and twine.) The bucket is a thick disk of sculpey with a random bit to make it look like it has a center-hinged lid. I drilled a hole through the lower hand and passed twine through it and the bucket to create a carrying handle. The satchel on his belt in back is made from green stuff.
This was a fun figure to make. It's also the first civilian I have in the collection, now. With more to follow!

I also finished up a couple figures from the last bunch I bought from Steve. I'll probably try a different color scheme -- the gray is ok, but I think I'll go with a slightly olive green instead. Yep, it means I'll probably paint over these -- the clothing anyway. It wont be too difficult. They are in the same scheme because I'm going to make this batch into a new clan (I already have one clan; they need rivals.)

The master to the right is unconverted. The yamabushi to the left has a couple changes from the original figure: I used the bald head of a monk archer instead of the one with the little yamabushi cap. And instead of the bo staff held in the back hand, I made him a katana to hold in his front hand.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Three-time Petrichor City 400 winner

The art busy-ness is increasing. Today, I did some minor work on my samurai, but I also found time to throw this "Mouse and Friends" acrylic painting together (1' x 2'.)

It commemorates Raccoon's third win in the Petrichor City 400. Raccoon, before he came to meet Mouse, at one time raced for the Quick Pickle Team. Quick Pickle manufactures and sells pickle-dispensing vending machines.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

42mm Japanese civilians

Here are all of the new figures. The kago is not yet glued to the carriers, so I can get them easily painted first. The two figures in the center of the photo below are converted from the baggage carrier figures (I like my fisherman.) And the lady with the walking stick is also a (very slight) conversion of the core figure with the parasol. All other figures are as-is, save for the addition of brass rod and thread lashings here and there.

I still need to doublecheck for gaps where arms are attached and fill'em with green stuff, but otherwise, all the figures are cleaned up, assembled and ready for priming.

I did make one big mistake: There were two large panels to make up the kago roof, and the two pieces are supposed to be peaked (like an upside-own "V") over the beam. I actually prefer my flat roof, and there are enough kago/norimono styles to justify it, so no biggie. I'll assemble the next one as it's supposed to be modeled.

Kago retinue wip

Just keeping you up to date on the kago progress (and trying to get back to good blog-posting habits.)
Here are my two baggage carriers, dry-fitted together. I replaced the yokes with brass rod for durability, and some thread lashings for added strength and stability. I filed out shallow grooves on the shoulders of my carriers so that the yokes settle in nicely; they are also and are balanced.

I have four baggage carriers, but I'm converting the other two into peasants. One will have a yoke with two buckets, while the other will be carrying a bucket in one hand and a fishing rod over his shoulder. I may commission a couple more civilians/peasants in the future; I'd like to have a few for a nice little scene on the tokaido. The core figure that makes up the kago and baggage carriers is ripe for conversion ideas; all I need are some different arms (the left arm comes separate) and maybe a new head or two. Maybe I can get Steve to sculpt me some Japanese buckets, too -- I hate making my own :)

The whole retinue is coming along slowly but surely. I just do a little bit each evening, which is all I have time for right now. Plenty of other things to do: I'm working on a children's book; I'm reading Moby Dick (and enjoying the hell out of it); and I'm working longer hours at work while one of my staff is on vacation. But I think this set is worth the wait and patience.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Steve Barber's 42mm Norimono

Thanks to Allison for letting me know that the "Kago" is actually the simpler, commoner's version of the Japanese palanquin, and that the more elaborate versions are actually called norimono, though, I think mine is a little on the low-end side of elaboration compared to some of the museum pieces I've seen.

Still, I will continue to call it a kago, only because it's shorter to type :)
Anyway, here is mine all assembled. Ideally, the larger kago should have four carriers (I think,) but I didn't want this model to get too overwhelming.I think a four-carrier version of this model could easily be made with the addition of a longer yoke and two more carrier figures.

To give you an idea of the size, the base these are on is 50mm x 100mm (figures are 42mm). The next thing I'm trying to figure out is if I'm going to paint the carriers and then afix them to the kago yoke, or assemble the how thing and paint it all at once. Has anyone here done something like a stagecoach or wagon with team? How did you approach the paint? Everything as one piece, or each element separately and then assemble?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Seriously cool set from Steve Barber

My little retinue (with extra copies of the baggage carrier and an extra lady. The ladies come with parasols, but I will give one of them a walking stick for variety. The kago is dry-fit here, hence, the gaps.
My "kago" arrived from Steve Barber Models, and it is seriously cool!

Window screen up or down? Mine will be up.
I commissioned Steve a few months ago to start working on these figures, which include the kago (the Japanese word for palanquin,) its carriers, a baggage carrier model, a lady and a bodyguard.

Steve had the foresight to put an option for one of the kago windows to be open or closed; this leaves the possibility of commissioning a passenger in the future -- diplomat, tax collector, concubine or daimyo off to serve his time in Edo. Whoever the passenger might be, that commission will have to get in line (I do have another project on Steve's desk once I pay my money.)

Her majesty's matched luggage! (Sorry, no mogs in this set.)
It will take a little work to get everything cleaned up and assembled. I'll probably do my usual routine and replace some bits with brass rod for added strength and such, but the set is excellent as is, and I think it's going to look great on the table.

For a paint scheme, I will paint a uniform design on all the baggage- and kago-carriers.
To pull everything together, the bodyguard will probably have a similar uniform, though, not the exact same as the carriers.

The ladies present an opportunity for some unique floral patterns. I'll have to do a little research, at least to find something I actually have skill enough to paint.

The other side of the kago (sorry for the cruddy photos; I was in a hurry to share pics of my new toys.) Also, I noticed my dry-fit is wrong: the side windows should be toward the back -- just a matter of swapping sides with the sidewall pieces.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Zombicide: VIP zombies

I'm slowly but surely getting back into painting. I thought a good way to take it easy but still feel like I got a lot done was to finish up some more monochromatic zombies. So I painted my VIP zombies from Season 3 of Zombicide.

I used the same old method as the normal gray zombies, adding white (light gray, actually) around the edge of the base to denote their VIP status. I didn't pick out as many (or any?) details as I usually do -- I wanted to finish these fast -- but the effect still works, and these will look fine in a game.

Since I'm not using zombivors in any of my games, I think I will paint them (around 30) also as VIP zombies, but I will paint them to fit in with my skinner zombies. Hopefully, Guillotine Games will offer a separate box of skinners so that I can paint up some crawlers as VIPs, too.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

42mm Samurai: Old Master

It's been a while since I last posted (2 months?) With the warmer weather, I've been outside and about painting the hell out of my watercolors. I'm also beginning to think on working on a children's book starring my little cadre of animal friends. (Mouse and Friends; if you haven't already, you can see them here.)

I'm still having a hard time getting back into minis painting. I kept this guy simple so I could finish him, and he still took three different sittings (I can usually crack something out like this in an hour or two. This time, those two hours were just spread over three days.) This is the same figure as from a couple posts ago, but with a different head. Sculpted by Steve Barber, I've had him do all of my commissions with separate heads to facilitate head swapping and repositioning.

Next up from Steve Barber's samurai range will be a little retinue: A couple laborers carrying a kago (Japanese palanquin) along with a couple baggage carriers, a lady and a bodyguard. I look forward to painting a few of the samurai in a uniform scheme (along with a flowery lady.) Steve has finished sculpting these and says they should be available soon. I'll let you all know!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What I've been up to

Sorry, I haven't had a lot of activity here lately. With the warmer weather, I've been out side painting the hell out of everything (watercolor, not miniatures). When the sun is out and the temperature is right, dainty flowers is the order of the day.

And when I'm not outside painting, I'm inside letting off the excess art energy with more painting. I have a hell of a lot of watercolor paper, and I aim to use it all.

If you'd like to see some of the art I've been working on, you're all invited to head over to my new Facebook page: The Art of Mouse and Friends. That way, you can at least see what's been holding up all of my minis on the painting table.

I still have plenty of Steve Barber's samurai to paint yet. Maybe on the next rainy day. He is also working on the next commission which I think many of you will enjoy -- it's little different, but still for the samurai range.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New Steve Barber Samurai

Here's the latest samurai from Steve Barber -- an unarmored samurai attacking. The blade and head come as separate pieces, allowing for a bit of conversion work if you want. The rest of the body is one solid piece of fun-to-paint folds. For some reason, I enjoy painting, layering and highlighting folds on minis. Of course, on this example, I kept the colors dark, but I have extra copies of this figure, so I will be having little more foldy fun with those.

I already have Steve working on the next commission, and it's a big(ger) one -- something a little more special for the samurai range. I'll keep it under wraps until I get some photos, but it involves multiple figures.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Zombicide: Companions

These are the companion figures from Zombicide: Angry Neighbors. They serve as allies, adding bonuses and options for the survivors. Since they aren't necessarily full-time survivors, I chose to just give them a speed-painting treatment, using the same drybrush method I use on the zombies.

After drybrushing some base colors over a black base layer, I went in with a slightly more patient brush to pick out a few details such as faces, tools, head wraps and other accessories. All the figures were finally given a light drybrushing of tan to weather them properly for the post-apocalypse. I may yet have a little fun and go back to add some gang colors to the two biker-looking fellows.

I also tried to slow down a touch and paint Mr. T here. He turned out OK. I find it difficult to make camouflage to look like camouflage, but I think it's convincing enough this time around.

All the rest of my survivors from the second shipment of Zombicide Season 3 are primed and ready to be painted, but they'll have to wait because my newest batch of 42mm samurai are also ready to paint.

This Sunday is Zombie Jesus Day! My friends gather and have lunch at Zombie Burger in Des Moines, and then we head home to play a fun game of Zombicide. That's why I hurried through these companion figures; I also painted up my extra (stretch goal) skinner zombies. No need to post them here; you know what they look like. The 20 or so figures only took an hour to get through.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Samurai Vignette: Water well

I still have one more base I can do another vignette on, but my new 42mm samurai have arrived, so I will start preparing them for painting. In the mean time, here is the last of these vignettes for the time being. This is a Japanese style water well with a bamboo cover.

Most of the reference images I found showed the square wells as wooden, but I wanted the stone to add another color to the base. The same with the walkway; I wanted another color on the base as well as another level.

The well and walkway were made using blue foam. The bamboo cover was made from extra bamboo spears that I got from my peasants (after replacing the spears with my versions made from brass rod.) The little water bucket is made from a thin piece of plastic wrapped around a small cylinder of sculpey. Some simple foundational flock, tufts, flowers and a floral stem tree finish this one off. On the opposite side of the base is a small wall of foliage clusters. I'll probably try them out as display bases when I take photos of new figures, so you'll probably see these bases again soon.