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.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Satys's Orphans: In progress and a new icon

The new chapter terminators are moving along nicely. I had Wednesday off, so I got together with a friend and we had a good ole classic painting day. That's where I finished these four troopers. These models are from the Space Hulk board game, so actually have Blood Angels regalia. But regalia be damned; Mom is saving money by making the chapter wear second-hand armor.

Today, I also decided upon the chapter's icon. The original planetary defense force for which this chapter gets its members showed a lot of hubris when they faced the tyranid threat, and Satys suffered for it, so the symbol for their failure is the "Falling Eagle."

This (unfinished) version of it is simplified from my original sketch but shows the basics of the icon's look. If you're not quite sure what you're looking at, it's an eagle falling. At the bottom, you see the top of his head looking up past his belly, toward his tail.  At the top of the banner pole, incidentally, you might notice the wings are also upside down, further mirroring the falling eagle concept.

The red field symbolizes the tyranid invasion from the skies, while the green is that of the Aurora Chapter, which saved Satys from its own pride.

Variations of the banner will have different iterations of parchments and banners with the chapter (bad latin) slogan: "Hubris, Damnum -- Humilitas, Victorias." One of my far-flung fringe hobbies is to paint full size flags. OK, I've only done two, but they turned out great. So I might do a version of this one full-sized; and yes, I'll post it here if I follow through.

Choosing the Falling Eagle as my icon has also helped me decide what kind of army the Orphans will field: A drop pod army, of course! Satys's Orphans aka The Falling Eagles (perhaps Falling Eagles could be the name of the elites, such as my terminators.)

I'm not versed in WH40K rules (the last game I played was in 1994,) so I haven't the slightest idea of what army composition a Satys force will have. I'll first figure out a tactical style and go from there. I'm sure the ideas will come as I develop my chapter some more.

Until then, "Hubris, Damnum -- Humilitas, Victorias!"

By the way, here's a flag I painted a few years ago. It's a full-size (rough) copy of the Bedford Flag, the first known flag of the American Revolution, carried by Nathaniel Page at the Battle of Concord:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Satys's Orphans: Base coat

I just wanted to show you all how I start these figures. To help speed things along, for the basecoat on these terminators (and many other of my figures) I use the same technique I use when painting my monochromatic zombies: Drybrush the hell out of them with a big brush. You can see the brush in the photo below; I used the same brush for all of the layers.

Over a black primer, I started with a heavily drybrushed/overbrushed layer of Vallejo Uniform Green. Next up is a layer of Uniform green mixed with a healthy dose of Vallejo Lime Green. Then Lime Green, and finally a little white mixed into the Lime Green.

Next up will be regular layered painting for details and equipment. This is where things will slow down again; I plan to only paint these two or three at a time. Each figure is unique enough that if I try to paint these a full squad at a time, I'll keep missing details and will have to open and reopen paint bottles.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Satys's Orphans: Banner WIP

I was tentatively organizing my plethora of terminators last night into squads and realized that with the remaining figures I could probably put together a command squad (probably not GW legal, but will look fine anyway.) But the one figure I needed that I could start on right away was a banner carrier.

So I gathered a little bit of green stuff and rolled out a back banner, capped off with a broken-off Space Hulk bit. I also threw together a bunch of purity seals and parchment. Once everything cured, it all went together quickly.

To go along with the back story of the chapter, the purity seals are mostly kept on the back of the banner to represent the chapter's humility until it proves itself in a major campaign.
In fact, I'm also closing in on a representative icon for the chapter: It will incorporate the symbol of the Aurora chapter along with that of an upside-down eagle to represent the fall of Satys. I'll hopefully be able to paint that symbology on this banner -- it's been a while since I've free-handed it with the minis.

I also ordered some bits to make my own terminator chaplain. I still need to figure out a crozius for him, but he should have enough skulls on him (and self-made purity seals and parchments) anyway to get the point across to the other squad members that this Chaplain means business, crozius or no crozius.

My command squad will have a captain, banner carrier, librarian, chaplain and a fellow with an assault cannon why not.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Space Hulk Terminator Squad

1990. That was the last year I finished painting an entire unit for Warhammer 40K, until I finished this squad of terminators. These are some DeathWing terminators I picked up via eBay to beef up the figure selection for playing Space Hulk (and also just to paint for the fun of it.)

I spent a couple weeks trying to decide on a paint scheme and to create my own chapter -- I had done enough rust and heavily weathered figures that I decided to go with an old-school, clean GW look.

After a look through the Marine Chapter lists, I found the Aurora Chapter which were a light green with black trim. I read up on their history and saw that they had fought for the world of Satys against Hive Fleet Leviathan -- and that was my entry point: This chapter is made up of denizens of Satys who survived the invasion and battle. Who better to cleanse the Emperor's space of Tyranids than those directly wronged by the merciless menace?

So I named my Chapter Satys's Orphans. I'm still a bit lazy and didn't bother filing down the badges of the Dark Angel (or Blood Angels from my SH box). I rationalize it as being second-hand armor passed down to the brand new chapter until they can create their own heraldry and icons.

They've kept the light green of their saviors, the Aurora Chapter. They've chosen white for their helmets to show that they are still "pure," that is, not yet fully battle-tested. The red accent represents their lust for blood against the tyranids.

I still think GW is the evil empire, but dammit, they make a figure that is easy to paint despite all the details (and I found myself having to go back again and again to paint missed details.) The ease of painting made this experience quite enjoyable.

I have several more terminators to paint yet. Oh, and I have all the figures from the game Deathwatch: Overkill, too. Hopefully, this won't become too bad of a habit with me and GW.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Space Hulk, the other Space Cadets

After painting the few Space Cadets figures in monochrome, I reminded myself that I had an unpainted copy of Space Hulk. It was unpainted because I was looking for a good color scheme for my genestealers. I think I was intent on painting everything in full color when I bought the game last year, but today, I tried a few figures in gray.

I think I will stick with the gray. In fact, monochromatic should just be my default setting for painting bad guys in board games. I will probably paint the rest of the genestealers later tonight. The remaining Space Cadet figures can wait (since I already have a full painted set for that game.)

The figure in the photo were all simply drybrushed, starting with dark gray and working up to light gray/almost white. The skulls were give an extra hit of the almost-white, as were a few of the extra sharp edges and accessories (skulls, wings, emblems.)

The terminators will get a heavy dose of rusty armor -- grizzled veterans. That should help speed them along, too. The terminator in the photo is gray because he is a mission objective, all of which will also be in monochrome.

Edit: Genestealers are done already! And here is the scheme I will apply to my terminators:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Space Cadets: Monochrome test

I have a full second set of figures for my Space Cadets game. My first set has been painted and is in full color, but I think I will do my second set in monochrome gray (as was my original intention way back in the beginning during this game's kickstarter campaign.)

This is just a test using one of each of the baddies/aliens in the game. As I do with my Zombicide zombies, I might color code one or two of the similar-looking figures by painting the edge of the base. The thrall (the human fella second from left) has had his face painted with just a little bit of fleshtone to help differentiate him from the others. I don't think it will be enough, so he (and the leader) will probably get the color on their bases.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Zombicide Black Plague: Survivors

Here are my finished survivors from Zombicide: Black Plague. It was a long process, taking me weeks of on-and-off painting (while I work on my children's book/illustrations.)

It had been a while since I had painted medieval/fantasy figures; I forgot the amount of detail sculptors like to cram into those figures. Ugh. The modern Zombicide figures were great to paint fast -- Shirt, pants, shoes and gun, done -- but the fantasy figures: belts, baldric, armor, satchels, swords, daggers, scabbards, jerkin, boots, overload! But they do look pretty if I can get everything painted properly; half of my problem is identifying many of those details.

Now, I have a bunch of zombies to get done fast (my friends and I are playing on Sunday.) But they'll be getting the monochromatic treatment, so they shouldn't take more than a long afternoon. I'm going to try out brown for my monochromatic base color, and go from there.

Oh right, speaking of the children's book I'm working on -- as a little vanity project, I commissioned Steve Barber (of Steve Barber Models) to sculpt me my little friends who are the subjects of my book. I showed the assembled sculpts in my previous post, but here they are all painted! I have a few more vinyl animals to paint and a couple more sets of Raccoon, Rabbit, Mouse and Duck yet to paint.

I better get them done fast (after my zombies): Just put into the mail are my copy of Soccer City, along with three teams worth of minis. They look a little bit more cartoony, so painting might go quick. I'll get a better idea once I see them in person.

Monday, March 7, 2016


Vinyl animals from various manufactures. Chair is a 3D plastic print.
Characters from the book I'm working on: Raccoon, Mouse,
Rabbit, and Duck. Yeah, the names are real original :)
Took a break from the miniatures and started up on some animals. These are the vinyl toys that stand around -- you know, I don't know what scale these are -- but I've been repainting many of these to stand in as reference for illustrating my first children's book (which begins with the line, "Mouse! Mouse! Your piano flew away!")

Actually, most of these animals won't be in the book, but I DO have some actual figures for my characters sculpted (by Steve Barber of Steve Barber Models) and painted. I'll photograph them once I get them based ... hey. here's a pic of the sculpts (and yes, they're meant to be cartoony.)

Painting soft plastic

I see this question a lot -- how do you paint soft plastic. Reaper says it's Bones minis don't need to be primed, which I think is perfectly true -- if you don't mind your paint chipping away like gangbusters. The problem -- My problem is that I use Testors to prime my figures, but on soft plastic, Testors (and a few other Walmart brands) always dry with a very sticky surface. Even Fusion brand which is supposed to be formulated for plastic dries very tacky.

Repainting vinyl animals let's you change their breed/skin patterns,
such as with the Hampshire pig on the left.
After a few trials and experiments I hit upon my own method for getting soft plastic figures (and vinyl, which includes all those cool dinosaurs!) 
Army Painter Primer. It sucks on metal (will chip away,) but it's about the most perfect plastic primer on the market. Now, it still has a minor issue: The stuff I get is labelled "matte," but it always dries with a glossy sheen. And this layer still doesn't hold a layer of paint as well as I would like. So after I prime a figure, I'll give it a brush layer of black craft paint -- Delta Ceramcoat Black to be specific.
Then paint as usual. 

I did my first monochromatic zombies from Zombicide using this method. All of those zombies were thrown into a box together and have been stored like that for a couple years, and still no chips. 
Granted, I still take care of my figures (I don't shake that box very much), but the AP+craft base layers still holds up well. If you already have Army Painter Primer, grab some Delta Ceramcoat and give this a try!

If you use a Walmart brand without any issues, let us know specifically which (specific) brand you use. 
I wouldn't mind using the Walmart stuff -- Army Painter isn't cheap -- I just don't know which brand to try. "That 99 cent stuff" isn't an answer (that's about the only answer I can find on different forums.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dragon Tides: Another Bruce Lee figure

Sorry, I've been so inactive here this year; I've been busy with watercolor, getting disciplined to make my move to get published.

Anyway, I bought a second copy of Dragon Tides for extra components. The extra components I don't need are the second set of figures. Still, I will enjoy painting them (and probably selling them later.) Here is my second copy of Bruce. I did the black pants with yellow stripes as per the art in the game. I also took a little extra time with the skin (the previous figure was mostly dry-brushed so I could get them into the game.) I prefer this attempt over my first (and I'll probably sell the first figure.)

Instead of painting a full-color base, I went gray-scale; that should speed things up a little. In fact, I've already painted the bases on all the other figures. The gray bases look a little classier and set of the figure better, I think.

I still have plenty on my table; I've been doing much of it piece-meal: Zombicide Black Plague (still), 40mm Steve Barber Samurai (STILL), some Mercs (still, but easily finished once I get them back to the front of the line), and my Tokaido collector's accessory pack arrived today with the cutest little Japanese characters. Once I can clear some space (and buy some new primer,) I think they will be fun to paint.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Beginning Mercs: Recon

Here are the first few figures from my copy of Mercs: Recon, a  game in which players take private mercenary teams on raids into the offices of rival corporations.
The figures aren't shelf quality, but they are great for being simple board game components. There aren't too many (yet,) but I'm trying some speed-painting with these.

My security forces here were (over a black primer layer) first painted with dark olive -- drybrushed so as to leave some black-lining and pick up details. The I drybrushed a lighter olive drab going from top-down -- a basic simulation of top-down lighting.
Next, I painted guns and boots with black, to clean things up a little. Then I added a base layer of skin -- not a lot of skin showing on these figures, so this was nice and easy. And, I didn't have to, but I went ahead with a flesh highlight. The figure of the Secfor woman standing with the shotgun had some hair showing, so I did one-color layers of brown or blonde on those figures.
Finally, I painted the inner portion of the base with flat black; I like the little bit of contrast between the shinier outer lip of the base against the matte inner portion.

The Waza figure was painted using the same technique but different colors. He was a touch more involved: I drybrushed three colors: Red, Orange and a little bit of yellow-orange. I painted black in the areas between and under his armor to help the orange brighten up a little. I used olive green on the packs and cases attached to his waist and leg. Black for the gun, blue for the visor and gray for the rocket. Same base treatment as the Secfor. Done!

Each Merc team is only 6 figures (if you include the snipers,) so, using this basic technique, these should paint up pretty fast. The Secfor group pictured only took about a half hour. And I split an all-in pledge with a friend of mine (who also paints,) so we should have everything painted up with ease.
And, of course, we look forward to playing soon -- I've been reading good reviews.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Smart AND able

Just a quick random from the table. This is a brain in a jar from my copy of Space Cadets: Away Missions (a very fun game, by the way!) I've mounted this brain, however, on a set of robotic legs from my mechanite team (from Dreadball Xtreme.)

Hmm, just a thought, I have other robotic legs (and wheels) from the team and extra brains; I could mount all the brains and make a fun little brain-racing mini game.

All in good time, I've started painting my Mercs Recon figures. I'm trying out some speed-painting techniques. For example, for my Security Force (Secfor) figures, I've drybrushed a dark olive base, then drybrushed from top down with a light olive for a simple highlight. One layer and a highlight for the faces and hands. Black gloves, boots and guns and done! It took me about a half hour to do my 10 secfor figures. Should be faster for the next 10 or 20 when they arrive.

I did a similar technique with one of my Mercs (from the Waza group,) and it seemed to work well. Shouldn't take too long to get everything painted to at least boardgame quality -- and I'll certainly post pics of my Mercs stuff when I get a bunch done.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Dragon Tides: Done

Well, that was fast; all of the figures from my core box of Dragon Tides are done -- and just when I was starting to have fun. Oh well, I guess I still have Zombicide and some 40mm samurai yet to paint.

Again, it was difficult to paint certain aspects of these figures -- faces and small details -- because the plastic bloated the original sculpts a little bit, but these are still some fun figures with plenty of character, and I hope to get in some games of Dragon Tides soon!