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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Do you want some Ghostbuster miniatures?

... Well you sure as hell can't have any of my little homemade gems. But Crooked Dice Games will be releasing some lovely little figures in September! Here's a link to photos on their Facebook page.

Photo by Crooked Dice Game Design Studio
I haven't added to my collection in a long time; I think the last thing I still have on my want list is a proper Ecto-1 in 1/43 scale (which exists -- I'm just looking for a good price.)

So I'll probably pass up on these figures since I already have a crew, but I may go for some of the extra equipment; I wouldn't mind having some proper-looking ghost traps ... and maybe a new Slimer.

Next week will end with some fun: It's the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters, and our local theater (as well as others nationwide) will be showing Ghostbusters for a full week -- five shows a night! I hope you all are lucky enough to have showings in your town.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hairy spider

This is a technique I learned from a White Dwarf article a few years ago: Using static grass as fur.
I took it in a slightly different direction using it to add hair to my spider. (This is a second copy of the spider from the Mice and Mystics game, which I highly recommend.)

The trick is to not use too much; I think I overdid it a touch with this spider. The original article used this technique on wolves, which had the fur all over. But for a spider, you just want to place the grass in key locations: leg joints, back of the thorax, abdomen. For the abdomen, I try to get two thin parallel lines running front to back.

I use superglue to stick the static grass to the figure. Use a toothpick to apply a tiny dot (or strip) of glue in the areas to be hairy. Coat your spider in static grass and shake away the excess. Prime and paint as usual. It's really that easy, and I bet most of you have everything you need. Reaper Bones spiders are nice, cheap figures you can try this technique on.

Since this is a hairy spider, I didn't do any patterns: Patterns are difficult to paint on the hair (and make look right,) but also, I just wanted the hair to be the focus of this figure.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Vallejo flesh palette

So I think I've settled on a flesh palette using my Vallejo paints. This isn't necessarily arranged as a triad or a recipe. What I've done here is to show a few colors in order than can be layered over each other to create your own triads.

For example, for a simple cauacasian flesh tone, you could choose either Beige Brown or Brown Sand as your base shade, then follow that up with either Beige Red or Med. Flesh, and finally a highlight of Sunny or Basic Skintone. Or you could start with a base of Beige Red followed  by Flat Flesh and Basic Skintone.
The point being that these colors work with one another decently, and by varying your triads, you can vary the composition of your army's faces.

I've also put together a basic African and Indian palette. I kept these palettes simple because I think they are easier to put together. Just about any brown will work nicely. What makes caucasian difficult to recreate is that it's such a fussy combination of red, yellow, white and a tiny bit of blue without making it too red or too orange or gray. The you have to account for tanning skin or sun burn.

This is a very muted palette, lacking much with any red in it. This is why I added the Beige Red to the palette; it provides just enough blood under the skin to give the miniatures a bit of life. You could also, of course, mix any of these colors, light or dark, together to make an endless list of colors. But if you don't like to mix (and I don't), try out these colors.


-- My scanner didn't capture the colors exactly, but I listed the name and number of the swatch next to the color. The Sunny and Basic Skintone swatches, for example, are lighter and less "yellow" than they appear above.
-- Flat Earth actually has a bit of green in it. I think it actually works, and, as a base, also serves to gently compliment Red Leather and Light Brown. Experiment on your own; Vallejo has a lot of browns that work well.
-- The Basic and Sunny Skintones are much lighter in person -- the Basic being almost white when painted on. So use these sparingly, mostly as simple glints of light reflected off of skin (tip of the nose, a thin stripe on the top of each cheek, maybe over the eye brows.)
-- Asian skin is actually very similar to caucasian. But but if you want some differentiation, use either Beige Brown, Brown Sand or Medium Flesh as your base, staying away from the Beige Red (or any other reddish tones.)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Skin and bones

While Jeff, that lucky sonofabitch, and thousands of others are enjoying GenCon this weekend, I'm stuck with a 60-hour work week. Still, I manage to find time to paint minis late, late at night. But I don't have many of my own right now (still a few Zombicide figures, though,) so I finished up a small, diverse group of Bones figures for Jeff. Nothing of note here. I kept things simple. The goblins were painted in the different bright colors for easy identification in the battlefield; this is a standing order from Jeff on all the minion figures I paint for him.

(Note: I speak about Jeff every once in a while on this blog; for those who don't know who Jeff is, he is essentially my patron, paying me lots of money to paint up his mountain of figures. He also keeps me supplied with plenty of flock, bases, paints and greenstuff. So, even though he is off enjoying the nerd paradise in Indiana, I don't mind painting some of his figures this week. He's also a good friend.)

Flesh Tones

Left arm done in "rose" colors.
Right arm is done in light browns
with flesh tone highlights.
So, as I transition away from the Foundry paints, I find myself looking for a new caucasian flesh triad/recipe. The Foundry colors are still my favorite (Flesh No. 5.) It gives a nice warm, almost comic-book bright skin tone. I love it; it looks great on the table.

Still, I would like to transition to something a tiny bit more muted and more realistic. So I'm trying to find a good combo using Valljo Model color, and it's proving to be difficult. Vallejo has some decent lighter skin tones, but lacks a decent base color to start them off.

There are also some of the "rose" colors -- Rose Brown, Salmon Rose and Light Flesh, which seems to have a tiny bit of rose in it. These colors work well together but seem much to pink to work as a flesh triad. The result reminds me of old GW Slaneesh skin tones. So the rose colors are out of the running.

Some of the flesh colors I'm using, but over a base of
Orange-brown, which seems to work OK for a more
dramatic lighted effect. The colors look fantastic at distance.
Here are the colors I'm using for now. The pairings are not mixes, they're just a couple colors that work as a base shade or the highlight. They are listed from base shades to highlights:
Brown Sand/Beige Red, Medium Flesh Tone/Flat Flesh, Sunny Skin Tone/Basic Skin Tone.

I'll keep working with them. I don't think I'll find a definitive triad that will be my standard, but it's probably better this way, resulting in a bunch of variations of skin tone.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Zombicide: Color coding Z types

I got a request to show the different zombie types to illustrate my color scheme.
The base colors denote the type of zombie (standard, berserker and toxic.)

For the subsets (walker, runner, fatty,) I only needed to make one change; I added a ring of red color around the runners' bases. I figured the difference between walkers and fatties (and abominations) was enough that I didn't need to add anything for differentiation.

The figure with the white ring is a tentative idea to identify VIP zombies, though I may go with a new idea which will be to add blood to the VIP zombies. Then I can use the white rings for another idea as explained below.

In gameplay, the red-ringed bases seems to be plenty to readily identify the runners, so I will stick with that system. For skinner zombies, I may just paint them gray just like a standard zombie, but give them the white ring. This way, I'll have the option to use the skinner zombies as either standard grays or as skinners.
The seekers will simply get a new base color (which I haven't decided on yet.)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Zombicide: General notes on monochromatic

The first five. I took my time with these, maybe about an hour total.
I've noticed a few of you wanting to paint your zombies using the monochromatic style. I just have a couple notes to add: The first five that I painted, I took my time on, imagining the colors and their gray equivalents, and took my time to brush on the paint. Those first five came out great.

... And the remaining 200 figures only took 4 to 6 hours.
But the remaining 200 zombies, I mostly drybrushed, roughly  picking out details here and there (faces, white shirts, black ties) with a smaller brush. It's difficult to see in the horde photo, but the quality of paint is not as good as my original prototypes. BUT, all together, the effect is still the same; that wave of gray zombies still has the effect of a retro zombie apocalypse movie (not that Romero ever had herds and hordes as big as those seen in Walking Dead and World War Z), but with the monochrome, they seem to almost glow as a massive collective.

My first (and still favorite) monochromatic project. Copplestone gangsters.
I just wanted to bring this up in case you're painting your monochromatic zombies, and they're not looking as good as you had hoped. Keep it up -- the effect is not meant for individual figures, but for the crowd in its entirety. You can still take your time painting each individual zombie (and I think the look really is rewarded when you exercise patience), but slow or fast, the point is to enjoy what you're doing.

Adding color

If you want to see a black and white collection that was painted with love and patience, I recommend you take a look at this beautiful WWI collection at Analogue Hobbies. As well as painting everything in the monochrome style, Curt has picked out leader figures by adding a little bit of color, painting keppies with a slightly muted red for the French, for example.
If you add color, I recommend muting that color so that it fits the general scheme. Now, of course, it's difficult to mute a good "blood" color, so take this advice with a grain of salt; if the blood looks best bright, glossy and oozing, by all means, leave it as so.

I plan on doing my VIP zombies in grayscale, but to differentiate them from the standard grays, I will be adding blood. I'm not sure if I'll go mute or bold, though.

A little battle report
Just before the final action of the game.
Yes, the walkers are all in one room.
I played a quick solo game, playing the mission, "Under Siege" (C2.) I had Red Cap Ben, Padre Johnson, Gary and Ralph (I call this group my "Hobo Strike Force.")

I used the Romero deck to keep things somewhat sane. Even still, it got out of hand fast. just a few turns in, I lost the Padre, Ralph and Gary in consecutive turns. (I know, game over, but I wanted to see how long Ben could go.)

Before Gary bit the dust, he managed to clear an adjacent room with his submachine gun, giving Ben an escape path. Ben was able to stay just ahead of the growing hordes, though, once the spawning ended, he was able to gain some space after a little bit of running around. Finally he got a chance to search a room and found a nice present-- and he already had the gasoline.

Yes, in the photo, all of those zombies are in one room. This is just before the last action of the game. (Yes, technically the survivors lost, but Ben still had fun.)

Even though I lost, I think the game was a bit tilted in my favor; the mission is meant to be played with more spawn cards than the Romero deck (mine is about 25 cards.) I'll wait until I get a group of 5 or 6 before tackling this one again.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Flashpoint Fire Rescue firefighters

I followed up the end of the Zombicide kickstarter by painting some of my leftover survivors, so I figured I'd follow up the end of the latest Flashpoint Fire Rescue kickstarter by finishing up my firefighters.

This is the full set offered in the Extreme Danger box set. The very first figure, I tried painting using my regular style, but the more realistic style just didn't fit the cartoon style of the sculpts. So I simplified and did flat colors. The black got a dark gray highlight and I may have done layers here and there, but for the most part (the HAZMAT technician is a big exception), I only applied one layer of color. I did, however, weather the figures with a drybrushing of tan once they were all painted. I think they turns out great, and I can't wait to get them back into action.

I'm not sure if I want to colorize the bases. I have the slip-on, color-coded rings, but I'm afraid those will strip the paint off the bases. I think the sculpts are unique enough for each player to pick his own out of the crowd. My figures from the original set do have colorized bases, since they are all the same sculpt.

The newer figures all fit into a small Chessex figure case with space left over for three of the older figures (in case more people want to be just generalists.) The Chessex case fits nicely into the box with space enough for counters and rule books. I have all my map boards in the expansion box (with not too much space to spare.) Everything I need for a fun night of firefighting is all in two boxes. Semper vigilans!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Zombicide: Shannon and Bones

This is Shannon (from Toxic City Mall) and Bones (from the Adrian Smith Art box.) I kept both of these survivors simple -- no conversion work at all. They are both great sculpts. I chose the yellow/white combo for Bones' guitar to add some contrast against the darker clothing.

This Shannon figure is actually her zombivor version, but I thought it worked well as a nice and gritty survivor. Something I've decided to do is not paint up my zombivors as I had originally planned (gray skin with color clothing as a middle transition between my full-color survivors and my black and white zombies.)
There are a few reasons for this decision: My friends and I usually don't play with zombivors; It would be difficult to match up the clothing with those survivors I've painted up; and, just as Shannon here, many of the zombivors work nicely as veteran survivors. It's not that I need any more survivors for Zombicide, but it's nice to have the extras for other post-apoc games (All Things Zombie and After the Horsemen by Two Hour Wargames being my main culprits.) It's also nice to have a few "alternate" sculpts to choose from if anyone so chooses.

For now, those zombivors not getting painted up as survivors are getting painted up as black and white walkers. I guess they could be used as unique VIP zombie sculpts. What's great about painting these in black and white is that if I decide to paint them up as zombivors using my original scheme, all I have to do is paint up the clothing and I'm done.

Matt varnish

If you've been following along, you'll remember that I've been having issues with tacky primer/varnish. Today I picked up some Vallejo brush-on matt varnish. The sealer I had been using worked fine, but it left a glossy sheen on the figure. So I'm trying out the Vallejo varnish. It seems to be working; it certainly dries more matt than most others. I'll keep you appraised in the long term. Thank goodness I'm not getting my new Zombicide stuff until the winter time when it's nice and dry. I've never had so much trouble with humidity affecting my priming.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Zombicide: The end "was" near!

This figure actually started out as Padre Johnson from the Adrian Smith guest artist box. I wanted the box for the other figure (Bones,) but for the price, I was certainly going to find a use for that other figure, which I didn't much like.

It didn't take much to come up with the idea of the sandwich board. The conversion was also quit easy: I simply cut a couple rectangles out of plasticard, scored it with an awl, glued it on the body (the boards are held in place with green stuff,) and finally adding the straps which were made with twisted twine.

Both sides of the board have a layer of dust/grime at the bottom and the backside of the board is faded; it's meant  to represent a momento of Johnson's previous job. And the meaning of the phrase on the front? Usually, the cliche phrase on a crazy guy's sandwich board is "The end is near!" Well, the zombie apocalypse came. Thus, "(I) told you so."

So, instead of almost becoming a throw away figure, Johnson (I've dropped the "Padre") has been added to the ranks of my favorites figures (shown below.) These are my favorites based on look alone -- I haven't played enough to know which of these figures has the best skills or combinations or what not -- I'm an artist, I like something that looks cool. Bones, the other figure in this box set, I think will also get added to my "favorites" selections.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Zombicide: Survivor with mojo

Here's a painted copy of Thiago I managed to snag. I kept with thew 60s/Austin Powers theme and painted him up with some godaweful pastel flowers. Green pants and white accents complete the tacky ensemble.

The face was difficult; the figures are tall, but the faces seem tiny and the detail a touch flat -- at least on this figure. I may go back and see what I can do to fix it. I also find it a little difficult to paint around those glasses. Still, the overall effect of the figure turned out fine for me.

The pattern is actually quite easy. I first painted the base color of the shirt (storm blue.) Then I chose some good Easter/pastel colors and painted the flower petals -- there was no pattern to laying them out, just start filling up space on his shirt. Then I did the flower centers with either a bright orange or a light blue. Finally, I painted random tiny splotches of light green to fill in those random areas where I couldn't fit small enough flowers.

I may do a few more figures with heavily patterned shirts to add to Thiago and my Joshua as a team for some  pvp action.

(Note: In keeping with the Austin Power's theme, I also painted the gun silver after I took this photo.)

A couple priming notes

So I found some of my Zombicide figures to be a little tacky. I'm not sure if they had been figures I used a different primer on (Army Painter) or if the figures had a slightly different plastic recipe or what, but I brushed on some acrylic sealer, and that seemed to do the trick.

This latest pair (I also have a Kyoko) also turned up a little tacky after priming with the usual Testors Flat Black, but it has also been a humid day, so that could also be a major factor.
In any case, after priming, once the primer has dried as dry as it will go, a layer of brushed-on acrylic paint (or sealer) usually solves the problem. I will also try a a thin layer of dullcote over a test figure to see if that helps. But first, i have to wait for the humidity to go down (It's been bad lately.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Some Kickstarter news

Here are a few Kickstarter campaigns some of you might be interested in. One interesting concept, an expansion by a solid KS retailer, and one mega campaign. Check'em out!

"Hostage Negotiator."
In "Hostage Negotiator," you play a negotiator trying to talk down an abductor while saving hostages. You do this via conversation cards, trying to lower the "threat  level track," among other things (dice, hand-building, words) -- OK, OK, OK -- so I haven't really read all the rules just yet; honestly, I saw "solo" and I saw the original gaming concept of "hostage negotiation," and I said yes.

I'm a big solo gamer, but I also enjoy a great theme, so this was almost a no-brainer for me (I still glanced at the rules before pledging, but they seem solid enough, especially for the low entry point of $20.)

There is a link to the rules from the KS campaign site, so I urge you to check it out, even if you don't plan on pledging.

Flashpoint: Fire Rescue
Also just starting is another Flashpoint: Fire Rescue expansion called "Call of Duty." This is a double-sided map expansion that includes a burning plane and a subway disaster and markers to play the boards.

The KS also offers a new specialist card AND another gameboard with alternative basement and attic sides (not available with retail version of the expansion.) This is another low-cost KS, with an entry point of $15 (which nabs the maps and card.)

The Flashpoint expansion KS only lasts for 14 days, so don't wait too long.

Zombicide 3
Love'em or hate'em, this campaign is doing amazing. Honestly, it doesn't need help, but I put it here JUST in case you forgot it was going on. I enjoy the game, but I also love having that horde of zombies and survivors that I can use for other games (All Things Zombie, After the Horsemen, and Zed or Alive, for example.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Samurai: Swordsmen and gangs

Here are the last of my samurai for a while. One is one of the newer unarmored bandits. I've given him a paint job with plenty of red in it after deciding to put together a samurai gang based around the color (see below.)

This figure took a little bit of conversion work to finish. First, he has received a new head (that of a mad man; who better to lead on of the gangs?) I pounded out a nodachi for him and sculpted a new hand so that his hold is correct. The pose works great! (And yes, that's a head on the ground near his feet.) I went with some improvisation on the designs of the kimono and haori, but making sure there was red in the scheme (yep- leader of the Red Gang.)

These will be the last of the samurai figures for while (unless I come into some more money to commission some more, or manage to clear out a bunch of other minis -- By the way, my 42mm bushi are still for sale.) These gangs have almost doubled the size of my samurai collection, which remains my favorite.

The Collection

Here are my Edo gangs and all of my other factions for partaking in small skirmishes. The peasants can be used to beef up the gangs or to combine with the monks for a nice-sized Ikko Ikki gang.

The Red Gang

The Pretty Boys
The War Veterans

The Peasants, led, by a couple of priests

Every samurai collection needs some monks.

Lord Hiroto and retainers
The ronin
An older photo, but I still love my ninja.