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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Prehistoric Sculpey

Here are, from left, a base of meat and organs (gloss varnished to make the meat look "fresher"), an idol on a stack of rocks surrounded by tribute (including a fire"lantern," meat, bone etc), and a selection of tools resting on an animal hide upon a rock.
Everything except the bases themselves was made from either Super Sculpey (which appears pink in the unpainted photos) or Super Sculpey Firm (which appears gray.)
Despite the batch being a little bit old, and somewhat flakey and dry, the Super Sculpey Firm is excellent for work in a tiny scale. The tools, as small as they are, were not difficult at all to create. They were a tad bit fiddly, but they took the details nicely. The lines inscribed in the meat and impressed into the tools was made by a needle.
The tools are really only inspired by actual tools; this collection was for practice. I have some reference material from which to recreate actual knives, scrapers and points in 28mm using the Sculpey. That'll all come later once my eyes become uncrossed!
Note: The figure is a Copplestone caveman (to give scale.) The bases of the meat and idol are 40mm, and the base with the tools is a 30mm display base.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finished Sculpey prehistoric hut

I put the hut on a base, and primed the whole thing black (Testors matte black 1249). I chose three different shades of brown and painted each of the hide panels one of the shades. I also painted some of the furs gray to add variety. The tusks were painted an off white- don't worry too much about coverage; you don't want the tusks to be TOO bright.
A light shade of each brown and gray was roughly drybrushed on the appropriate areas. The tusks were given a lighter highlight of ivory, and the base was flocked. Time from painting to end of flocking: About an hour and a half. So, from start to finish, this prehistorc hut took three hours to make. Now my cavemen have a place to hide when smilodons are about.

A couple projects I've had in mind are now fully possible: One would be a burial scene (to serve as an objective marker?) involving a dead cro magnon wrapped in hides laid in a shallow bit lined with more hides, stones, bones and idols. I can remember seeing a lifesize diorama of a prehistoric burial scene at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and I'd like to recreate this.
The other project I want to do is to take either a toy Mammoth with which to modify, or start entirely from scratch to make a dead/recently killed mammoth. Some of his skin would be peeled back revealing a rib cage and organs as if a tribe had just begun to harvest their kill. This second project is still a little ambitious, but by the time I get to it, i may have the skill enough to simply sculpt it entirely from scratch. Since it will be lying down, an armature would not be required; the construction would be very similar to the prehistoric hut shown here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sculpey Hut

With all the amazing possibilities open to me with Sculpey, I chose a simple project as my first: A prehistoric hut.

After going through many different ideas for the base structure underneath the Sculpey bits, I decided upon crumpled-up aluminum foil; in fact, the Sculpey web site recommends crumpled foil as an underlying frame for larger Sculpey projects. This whole project used about a fifth of a pound of the Sculpey, which comes in 1-pound blocks.

After getting a basic size and shape with the foil, I rolled up bits of Sculpey into balls about the size of marbles. I then flattened the marbles of Sculpey and spread it over the foil structure (See first image.)

After the foil was covered, I took a needle and etched some buckskin panel lines. Some of the panels, I scribed in fur to add variety.
I made a few extra panels to layer over the hut to give it more depth and detail.

The hut, foil and all, was put in the oven to bake at 275 degrees (160 C) for a half hour.
In the meantime, I rolled up a few simple horns
and tusks which would be used to decorate the hut.

I have yet to glue the tusks to the hut, as well as to paint and base the piece. But the Sculpey bit is finished, and it only took about an hour and a half, including baking time!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Super Sculpey

No pics, but just a quick update: I'm on vacation and my Dad (a fine modeler himself) has introduced me to Super Sculpey. I was actually fully aware of this polymer clay before, I just never had the gumption to spend money to try it out myself. Well, Dad had some, and I gave it a whirl.

Super Sculpey is a polymer clay that, once you have finished your sculpture, can be baked in a regular oven to harden the clay. The result, in my opinion, is close to a resin finish. There are two Sculpeys out there, Sculpey and Super Sculpey. As far as I can tell, the Super is chip and shatter resistant. Keep in mind, resistant does not mean indestructible. The thicker pieces I made are strong, but the smaller pieces (such as thin bases) will snap if you apply enough pressure.

But, holy cow, the possibilities. Imagine working with green stuff, except your sculpt doesn't pick up your fingerprints, and doesn't dry until you bake it allowing to you to work and rework your sculpt at your convenience through the week.

It does have it's drawbacks: Since you have to bake it, that precludes you from using it to fill gaps or add parts to metal miniatures. Also, it's difficult if not impossible to sculpt hard edges while it's soft, BUT it can be polished, sanded and filed once it has hardened after baking, so hard edges are achieveable.

I say go buy a block. A 1-pound block will cost between $10-$14 (cost varying with region.) But places like Michael's and Hobby Lobby always have 40 percent off coupons.

If you try it and don't like it, give it to the kids and let them have fun, it's (advertised as) non-toxic (though the box says to be careful of the fumes when baking.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Same figure, new pose

I was looking for a specific pose for a new D&D character: A sword-and-shield fighter hunkered down behind his shield but ready to strike. It was a pose I saw in an old Roman engraving of a gladiator hunkered behind his shield; he was lightly armored in every aspect except that facing his enemy. I finally settle on a miniature I already have - Well, I bought a copy instead of ruining a nicely painted mini.

The job was easy: I used a pair of needle nose pliers to bend the shield arm back a bit. I turned the word arm forward (This was helped in that the sword arm is separate from the forearm forward.) Then, to add a bit of difference from the old figure, I took off the horns from the helmet to make a rounded off skullcap. A little greenstuff was used to cover up holes and cuts and to make some leg armor (to give that totally armored aspect as seen by the enemy.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Reaper leaping rogue

On second look, I'm not as dissappointed with this one as I was when I finished it. It was a rushed job, I had a couple rum'n'cokes in me, and it was 2:30 in the morning.

But it looks all right. Room for improvement. Still a nice little sculpt.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reaper leaping rogue

Found this odd, but dynamic little fellow at the store. In case you want one, he's sold by Reaper and is officially called "Hellbore the Assassin," and is numbered 2782.

I changed mine up a bit by switching out one of the knives for a sword.

I'm still trying to decide on colors. I'm leaning less toward dark assassin and more toward deadly jester- though I may find a comprise; Jesterish designs using dark assassin colors. It's still under the prime, so I have time to think about it before I get the brush wet.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bonjour, mes amis!

Je voudrais dire bonjour au mes amis Francais!!

No babelfish here- I speak french, baby! ... I hope.
I've been noticing on my site stats that I've been receiving a lot of hits from French Web sites, so I'd like to welcome my French friends to my painting blog.

And French visitors are free to comment in French at my site. I'm not good at speaking or writing, but I can read French fairly well. I hope to hear from you all!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


A nice, stately sculpt, this is from Rackham's Confrontation line, a ltd ed. figure called Drac Mac Syro. The shield design I based off of (but did not do an exact copy of) one used by Conan in "Conan the Barbarian." The shield was not part of the orginal sculpt; It is a Greek shield by Foundry.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


This is another figure from Rackham's Cadwallon Militia box set. For D&D, I will roll him up as a warlord. I kept the colors simple, some Reaper Dark Night/Slate and reds, and some Foundry greys. This figure also is on one of my greenstuff bases, though I've hidden a lot of detail with some overgrown (static) grass (GW).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shield face

This is a quick step-by-step I threw together showing how to paint a basic face on a shield. This technique can also be used to paint human-faced moons and suns on banners and such.

The colors don't matter, only that they are of the same palette, i.e., all reds or all blues with appropriate shades and highlights- though experimentation is always a choice.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another one makes it off the project shelf

Elf ranger. More specifically, Elven sniper from Reaper's Warlord line. I've clipped the old bow and made a new one from brass wire and sewing thread. The back hand was well-suited for holding an arrow, but I didn't want to deal with the fiddly thread nor hide the face too much.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some more greenstuff work

Been building up a D&D party. This is a swashbuckler converted from a Rackham Cadwallon assassin. I custom-built him a rapier. I built the base from two layers of sculpted greenstuff. I also added a rat on the street next to the curb. I hope it looks okay after being painted. I wasn't all that fond of this mini, so it became a piece I could experiment with.

I don't paint just minis

Sometimes I need a break from painting minis or building terrain. So I'll go out on the town and paint some terrain. This is a local hangout. Welch Avenue Station is a bar occupying the lower level of this building, and Pizza Pit occupies the upper level. This is a photograp (I was too lazy to dig out the scanner) of a watercolor sketch I did on a Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

minor update

Nothing new to see yet. I have a few things at various stages. I'm waiting for a couple figures in the mail before I launch into another small paint blitz. I'm also practicing my flagstone engraving. Gonna look up some patterns to try out. I'm also gonna tool around and discover what other fun I'm able to sculpt from green stuff.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rackham militiaman finished

And here's the militiaman finished. I didn't take step-by-step photos, but I DO have details on the colors used. If you're interested, then keep reading. Otherwise, enjoy the pics.

Colors are listed in order from darkest to lightest (which is the order I applied them, as per the "Foundry" system.)

Letter code: Rpr = Reaper Pro Paint, Fdy = Foundry

Padded jerkin: Rpr Night Sky, Rpr Slate, Rpr Slate+Rpr Ice blue

Jerkin trim: Rpr Ice blue+A touch of Fdy Arctic Grey 33A

Blouse (under the jerkin): Fdy Charcoal Black 34C+Rpr Ice blue, Continue adding Ice blue as you add highlight layers.

Tannery (the leathers): Rpr Aged Brick, Fdy Spearshaft 13A, Fdy Spearshaft 13A+ Fdy Base sand 10C, Continue adding Base sand for a couple more layers.

Shield: Spearshaft 13A, Spearshaft 13A+Rpr Rust, Add more Rust for a couple layers, Rpr Rust+Rpr Bright Orange, Add Bright orange for a couple layers, then add some Fdy Buff leather 7C to the Rust/Bright Orange mix. The white decor is Fdy Arctic grey 33A, B, and C straight up.

The hair also is Fdy Arctic grey 33A, B and C

The skin is Fdy Flesh 5A, B and C with intermediate mixes between each color.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rackham Cadwallon militiaman

I should start in-depth projects (my dwarven lord) more often. I'm getting lots of other stuff finished!

This figure is from the militia box set Rackham put out for their role playing game, Cadwallon. I'm painting him up for use as a character in D&D. I have a few other unpainted Rackham figures I will, sometime, paint up as either characters for D&D (or to sit on the shelf and collect dust.)

This figure isn't actually finished yet. He's carrying a shield on his back; it has yet to be painted (as does the hilt of his sword and a couple other minor details.) I'm still trying to decide on a color for the shield.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A minor eureka moment

I was looking at cast flagstone bases thinking they might be nice to try out- 4 bases for around $5. But everytime I look at some kind of terrain or accessory for my minis, I always ask myself, "Can I make this myself? And is it cheaper/easier to do myself?"

I have plenty of greenstuff and never for a second thought about customizing my own bases. It's definitely cheaper AND easy.

I've only made a couple flagstone bases using the 30mm round "display" type bases. Take a small amount of greenstuff and spread it inside the inset portion of the base. Then use a needle to engrave the joins between the stones. To help the needle glide easier through the greenstuff, I coat it with a TINY amount of oil (I used olive since I had it sitting around.)

That's it! I have yet to try it on a figure with an integral base (or at least an easily-removed integral base.) For slotta-based figures, I spread the greenstuff, then I force the figure into the slot of the base. Clean off the greenstuff pushed through thr bottom of your base and integrate it back onto the top of your base. Then draw your stones under the figure- DONE!

If you have a needle, an extra base and some spare greenstuff, give this a try.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fopish rogue

Just one of those side projects to divert my attentions from larger projects. This one, however, only took about an hour to coomplete.

For the red color, the paints I used, in order from first to last, were Foundry Spearshaft 13B, Reaper Pro Paints Blood Red, Reaper Bright Red, Reaper Dragon Red and Reaper Bright Orange.

Foundry spearshaft is a light tan color. I prefer tans and light browns as a basecoat for bright reds as opposed to whites. Whites usually require a coat or two for full coverage, but most light browns have good coverage so that only one coat is needed, thus preventing a needless buildup of multiple basecoats.

The speed of painting the whole figure was accomodated by the use of a very small palette. Along with the red, I used browns for the tannery and gold for the metals (as well as a Foundry flesh palette fo the face.) The figure, by the way, is Reaper No. 2775: Edward Dumond.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Painting a dwarf: Step one

It's been much too long (the beginning of this blog I believe) since I've done an in-depth step-bystep guide, the kind in which I discuss specific colors, choices, techniques etc. In fact, I can only recollect two, which were the very first entries on this blog: A caveman and a dinosaur hunter (both Copplestone minis.)
I'm not sure how this will work out, if I'll be able to follow up, but I'll try to keep this project going. In the meantime, I still have my Blood Bowl team to finish as well as a couple minor odds and ends.
Now here's a small caveat: I won't post the entire step-by-step in one post. I'm going to post each step as I finish it. This will allow me to work on the project at my liesure. Posting long step-by-step entries is involved in that I have to keep detailed notes while painting. And then rewrite them in a semi-organized fashion. Posting as each step is completed will be much easier. So let's start!

This is Reaper No. 3275, Barnabas Ironbrace. My intention is to use him as a paladin for D&D 4 ed.
The first step I've taken is to remove his mace and replace it with an axe. The axe was made by taking a greataxe blade (from some Heresy bits) and sawing it in half (a top and a bottom half). Some brass rod forms the handle, and a spikey bit caps it off.

As for colors, I'm "planning," since he is a paladin, to make his armor in basic silvers and golds (yep; I'm gonna combine 'em). Since he will be a vengeaful paladin, his cloak will be sort of a grey/blue (Reaper Pro paints Dark Night as the shade coat) to reflect the storm raging in his mind. I'm not sure about trim yet; perhaps it will simply be light gray to white, but that could change as I proceed. Hmmm, maybe a "buff" or "Buckskin" color for the trim to add a little warmth to the drab blue/gray.

I'm also thinking about doing a slightly more beefy base than I usually do; it may be something as simple as putting a small slab on a basic display base- again, just thinking about it; I still have to take inventory on materials at my disposal. That's all for now!

Next time I post, I should have the figure primed, a base built and perhaps a couple colors thrown on.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A few more Reaper figures: Wizard, Dwarf and Warlock

These are the last of the figures for my D&D gaming group. The Reaper dragonkin, thief and fighter in previous posts listed here are the other figures comprising the party.
I've also painted a Reeaper Warlord Reptus as a dragonkin for another D&D party, and have anoher Tiefling "on deck."
But finishing these figures means I actually finished one of my projects. Next project I want to finish is my Blood Bowl team.

A little more Blood Bowl

This is the Berserk Boris figure from Heresy, heavily converted for use in Blood Bowl. I'm enjoying sculpting wih greenstuff, even if it can be frustrating; It's like trying to sculpt with chewing gum.

I'm finding that a sewing needle with a tiny amount of cooking oil on it (and I mean a TINY amount) is a great sculpting tool. Greenstuff is still difficult to use, in my opinion.

Oh well, at least I can rely somewhat on my painting to hide any crappy sculpting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Step by step of how I painted my flag

I couldn't seem to get this pic to link in the previsous post on making flags, so here's another go, so that you can see how I layered everything.

Making a flag for your army

The key here, I think, in making a good flag for your army is to find the right material. It has to be a paper good enough to take paint and glue and still be supple enough to bend and furl into a nice wind-blown shape.

The material I use, and have plenty of, comes from the inserts Wargames Foundry usually sends out with their orders. I have also found, most thick, glossy papers will work. Really, just about any paper will work; If you paint the entire square/retangle of paper with acrylic paint, the paint will essentially provide the paper with a plastic layer giving your base material a layer of strength.

I prefer to measure and cut out a shape twice as long as the flag, so that I can fold it around a pole. In this case, I cut out flags at 2 inches by 4 inches (to make flags roughly 2-inches square). Don't forget to account for the part of the flag you'll wrap around the pole. For glue, I use superglue ( I like my stuff to get done fast), but white glue works just fine.

A note on flag wrinkles (see image): Flag folds/wrinkles/waves are the conjunction of where the wind is blowing the flag from one direction and gravity is pulling in another direction. But you need a point of tension from the which the wrinkle pulls, and that is the top of the flagpole where the corner of the flag holds.

Except where there are high, irregular or crosswinds, you should keep your wrinkles in a diagonal direction pointing roughly toward the tension point. You should also keep the wrinkles roughly parallel to one another though some wrinkles may slighlty branch away from larger wrinkles.

However, wrinkles are not always required- you may add a very subtle wave or none at all if you want folks to admire your handywork. I want folks to see the patterns on my flags, so I've added only a minimal of waves into them.

A note on my flags' design choice: For my Warhammer Empire army, I chose to base my flag designs off the Bedford Flag (see bottom image) from the American Revolution. The Bedford flag is considered the oldest flag of the Revolution and was even old than the Rebvolution, itself. The flag originally was a cavalry flag for the Massachusett's Bay militia during the French and Indian War.

The image is a photo of an actual-size reproduction Bedford Flag I made. The original flag was only 27 inches by 29 inches. The flags in my Empire army, however are about 6-foot square (inscale that is); I wanted them to have a decent impact on the game board.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Oldies but goodies: Empire ship

I finished building this ship last year (after starting then stopping sometime in 2006.) Like my Nile steamer, I built it as a display base for some of my figures, in this case, a small Warhammer Empire contingent.

Like the steamer, this ship started as a piece of blue foam over which planks were glued.

I'm confident I could build another with relative ease, and I would if only I had space in my small apartment.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oldies but goodies: Pulp film crew

I think I'll start periodically reposting (new) photos of old minis. Since this blog seems to be pulling in new viewers each week, they may not take the time to look through the archives (though you're missing a lot.) So I'll put up the random photo of miniatures finished long ago.

As my photography skills improve, I'll repost better images as well.

I'll title reposted pics, "Oldies but Goodies" to indicate they're not new minis (though the pics may be new.)

This "oldy but goody" is a film crew I converted from some Copplestone Casting miniatures. The camera and microphone are scratch-built; the director's megaphone is the end of a pen (not the cap, but the part from where the ballpoint protrudes); and the clipboard and pencil (tiny) is a piece of plasticard and brass rod.

I use the film crew in playing Tusk.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Head swapping

One of the easiest conversions to make (provided you have the tools) is the head swap. Head swaps ae great for when you have a figure in a favorite pose, but you want him bare-headed or with different headgear.

All you need is a razor saw, pin vise, brass rod (or paperclippage) and maybe some greenstuff. You'll also need two figures, one of which you may be sacrificing if you are simply doing a head trasnplant (and not a "swap.")

When sawing off the head to be transplanted, try to save as much of the neck as possible, It's easier to work with more than less, and you can file off whatever you don't need later. When sawing off the head of your posing figure, try not to saw off any clothing such as necklaces or shirt/coat collars.

Test fit the head onto its new body. This is also a good chance to see how the head looks facing different directions. Once you're happy with a fit, drill holes in the head and the neck; drop a pin in the neck hole, do one more test fit, then glue it together. After the glue has dried, use your green stuff to fill any gaps or fix details.

Do you have Photoshop and a digital camera? Then you can do some basic visual headswaps to see what you're getting yourself into before you put saw to metal.

Everybody has a lead mountain of unpainted miniatures. Grab a couple and get a little practice.

Bad Bay Hackers

I've finished the core members of my Blood Bowl team. They are all Heresy figures which can be found at

I still have a few linemen and a couple catchers to paint, as well as a coach and some cheerleaders, all different manufacturers. All the while, I'm trying to NOT start any new projects.

These figures aren't painted as well as they could have been; this was a deliberate choice. Since they will be used on the field and probably will get knocked around, the inevitable chip will occur, using a simple color palette and basic 3-color technique will make repairs easy.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

More Blood bowl team photos

Here's a photo of the core members of my team with the yellow applied (Foundry Ochre A, B, C) and the green (Foundry Forest Green A, B, C) finished up. Now I just have to do boots, belts, straps and armor. The unprimed figures are the remaining figures making up my Bad Bay Hackers team.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Heresy figures for Blood Bowl

Here's the core group of figures for my Blood Bowl team. If anyone is into the comics or novels, I'm basing my team off the Bad Bay Hackers. These figures are all the Heresy figures for my team. I also have a few 2nd edition Games Workshop figures, one from Impact Miniatures and one from Superfigs. I'll try to take photos as I paint'em all up. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Some random figures among my many small projects

These include some figures from a Blood Bowl team I'm putting together using GW and Heresy figures. I'm basing my team off the novel and comic famous Bad Bay Hackers.
The highlanders are all Reaper figures.