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, 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.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Samurai vignettes: The cemetary

This one turned out almost exactly as I pictured it in my head. The only difference was that I originally wanted the base to have lots of tall grasses -- almost as tall as the grave stones. But I couldn't get the grassy material I have to look natural; I'll have to hunt around for super large grass tufts instead.

Still, this piece turned out nice. The graves were made from Sculpey and the footpath from green stuff. Then I spent an hour throwing on various grass, tufts and flowers over everything.

The next base will have my waterwell on it. This one might be a touch more urban, having a (ever so slightly) raised wooden walkway next to the well (to add a third level to the piece.) I still need to sketch out a plan for that one before I make any final decision. 

I'll still have another base leftover after I do the waterwell; not sure what to put on it yet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Samurai vignettes

This one was much simpler to make. It took about a half hour.
Half of it is actually an eighth of an inch taller, having a
foam base sloping gently; the figure here is on the high ground.

So I had these 120mm bases sitting around, and I wasn't quite sure what to use them for (I don't own any dragons or huge minis.) So I'm making these fun little terrain pieces to serves as objectives/areas for my samurai (and other) skirmish games. I used the word "areas" because I'm using the Red Sands series (by Two Hour Wargames) to play my samurai games, and in the Red Sand series, figures move from area to area. Each area can only hold three figures (as do my little terrain vignettes.)
When I'm not playing, these serve nicely as display bases for a figure or two.

I made the nicer of the two vignettes here by cutting some blue foam to fit the base. I carved out the creek bed and used two-part epoxy resin for the water. The foaming water is simply white paint applied directly to the cured resin. Grass, foliage, tufts, flowers and tree to finish. (The tree was made using floral stems from Hobby Lobby.)

I made this one -- oh man, more than a year
ago already. Time flies when you're having
fun painting samurai and providing them
with a pretty battlefield.
The rocks on the second base were made from blue foam scraps that were sanded smooth. I kept the second base simple because I wanted to bang it out in a half hour. (The waterfall base took a couple hours.)

I have two or three of these 120mm bases left. I think I will do a Japanese water well for one and maybe a tiny graveyard for another. That should give me enough time to think about what to do with the last one -- perhaps a tiny footbridge over a little creek.

I used one of these bases a little while ago to make a ruined stone corner. It looks nice and provides some cover on the field, but it isn't meant to hold figures; the remainder of these I want to hold two or three figures each.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mouse and friends build a barrel

I was doing a crossword at a local pizza joint; one of the answers was, "stave," which inspired my to do this little doodle on a napkin. Later in the day, I penciled and inked the bigger page, and I finished painting it this evening.

The caption reads, "Well how in the hell did we make the first one?" I'm sure there's some lesson in there somewhere.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mouse enjoys a nice read

I still don't have any energy for painting minis just yet -- well, I have the energy, it's just I hadn't found anything I wanted to paint. So I prefer to do these watercolors for the time being. I've put in an order for some Steve Barber samurai, and I actually look forward to painting those. I'm also working on the next project to commission Steve to do soon, hopefully.

Here's Mouse reading in what I call the watermelon carpet room (even though it's not the dominant carpet.) It's not evident in the painting, but I'm pretty sure he's reading some Conan the Cimmerian.

My personal favorite Mouse paintings are those with fancy carpets on the floor and famous paintings on the wall.

This is one of those rare instances when I get an in-progress photo of my art. All Mouse paintings start out as a pencil sketch. I follow them up with an inking using my brush pen (it's pen but has a brush instead of a nib -- great tool.) Then I end with the watercolor; peel off the masking tape, Done!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Samurai commissions

These are all the figures I've commissioned in 2014. A few notes: the samurai in the orange shirt and the one with the yari
are variations of the same figure, both of which are available in Steve Barber's catalog. For one commission, I let Steve
choose what to sculpt, and the result was the neat armored bandit at far right. The archer here was my first commission.

I missed the first anniversary, which was a couple months ago, of my first samurai commission with Steve Barber. Since that first one, I've followed up with several more commissions, including a few extra heads here and there. The photo above shows all of those commissions. I have extra copies of all of them, and many are converted, but these represent, for the most part, the figures now available from Steve Barber.

This is Steve's favorite. This is also one of my favorites, though the archer has
 a little more sentimental value being my first. If you're looking for something
fun and different to paint, I recommend this yamabushi monk. He has plenty
of detail without the detail being too difficult to paint.
I started doing the commissions because I wanted a bunch of unarmored samurai for doing street skirmishes in the vein of several samurai films (Yojimbo, Sanjuro, 13 Assassins, Kill!, Ichi, Zatoichi.) Admittedly, my first commission was the archer monk; I used him to to test the waters to see how I liked the process and the finished product. If it was the first and only commission I did, at least it would be a nice shelf piece. He was a great success (and one of my favorites), so more suitable skirmish models quickly followed.

I have another samurai who is being molded. Unarmored of course, armed with a katana in a hasso stance (at least the best I could ascertain as "hasso." There is one complaint over at TMP from someone who says the pose is all wrong. I don't care -- it's an action pose for movie-style skirmishing, anyway -- It's my money, so I'll choose whatever pose I think "looks cool.")

I'm saving up money for yet another commission; I think the next one will be a classic sohei monk armed with naginata. In the future, I also have ideas for another peasant, a yari-armed samurai, another monk archer (a standing version of the one in the photo) and maybe an ikko-ikki monk. All of these will probably take another year or so. 

So why spend the money? I could spend a few dollars for a few packs of minis to get some figures that are close to what I like, or I can spend extra money to get exactly what I want. So instead of having a shelf of hundreds of figures, a few of which I love, I have a shelf with a few figures, all of which I love.

Steve Barber will do just about any commission. Drop him an email and check it out. He'll give you a quote for free. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Still watercoloring

... but I do have a couple Mice and Mystics figures painted, I just have to get them photographed.
I've also been informed by Steve Barber that my new samurai is ready to go to sale! A new batch of samurai might just pull me out of this mini-painting drought.

In the meantime, here are some more watercolors from the past couple days.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

More watercolors

I had hoped to have some Mice and Mystics figures finished to show to you; I had planned to meet up with a friend to do some minis painting, but I never heard back from them, so I said, "fuck it," and went out and did some watercolor painting outside instead. It was a nice day out, so no need to let it go to waste.

The first one only took 10 minutes to finish (for true!) The second one, about an hour. They are both 12x18".Enjoy!