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, January 31, 2009

Minor update

Nothing new to show everybody, sorry. I'm looking forward to the release of Warhammer Historical's new Trafalgar game (Napoleonic naval battles.) I've preordered the rules and have ordered just a couple ships from GHQ -- USS Constitution and a Baltimore Privateer. Hopefully, I can get one of those finished before long.

Haven't touched Sculpey in a couple weeks. The dead mammoth took a lot of my energy, and as I sat around the next few days thinking about what to do nex, I've gotten sick..twice. A VERY sore throat- painful enough to be distracting, so not conducive to painting. It's nothing serious (pharyngitis), but it does hurt. So I should hopefully be getting better when those ships arrive. Until then, please enjoy tromping around through my archives; maybe you'll find a nice treasure you missed last time you visited.

P.S. has anyone else been experimenting with Sculpey? Feel free to post a link to any of your projects in the comments box.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My entire tribe

Here's a group shot of my tribe. The huts, dead mammoth, trees, hills--uh, Everything except the animals and humans were scratchbuilt.
Click on the photo for a MUCH larger pic, so you can scroll around and explore the tribe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dead mammoth carcass finished

Dead mammoth: Day three

Assembly and painting is finished!! And enough entrails to satisfy even the most morbid caveman. Soon, I'll post final pics of the based model.
Total time for assembly, painting and basing: 5 1/2 hours.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some more mammoth work

Here's the fur and hair, organs and a couple pieces of choice meat. The whole thing is baking in the oven as I post this. A couple changes I made: Originally, I was going to have the organs laid out next to the mammoth, but I like the way they "fall" out of the body cavity. I think it's more organic and less posed this way. I also prefer keeping the stomach still attached to the intestines- I justr prefer the look.
Tomorrow, I'll attach the tusks, prime the piece and possibly start painting!

Dead mammoth: Day two

It's the second day I've worked on this project, but I worked for an hour, so I have two and a half total hours invested so far. I spent most of this session working on the head and trunk. The head is a little oversized for the body, especially the jaw, but I don't think it will detract too much from the overall piece.
The tusks are made from greenstuff. While I wait for those to cure, I'm going to practice sculpting fur and hair. Then I will "wooly-ize" my dead mammoth. Once the fur is added, the carcass will be ready to go into the oven at 275 degrees for about an hour to an hour and a half. I will then sculpt some organs- some to go inside the open body cavity and some to be strewn about on the base. The final assemblage will be of the tusks to the head. This will happen tomorrow; I'm going to give the tusks a full 24 hours to cure.
Among the harvested organs will be the intestines, stomach and heart. I'll practice sculpting some adipose (fat) tissue as well to spread about the open torso of the mammoth. Oh, it will be a gruesome scene.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dead mammoth

Oh, today was a good day. Even if I don't complete this project for whatever reason, I am happy with how (relativley) easy it has been to sculpt this mammoth carcass.
Believe it or not, the work shown in these photos represents only about an hour and half of work (including the quick sketch on the base. I had been holding off doing this model for a year or so because I wanted a lot more practice with green stuff. Then I happened upon Sculpey and, as you have seen in the past few posts, everything has changed. I handled this model as I added the legs and smoothed the sculpey over the body and it never deformed or took any fingerprints. The other thing I like, is that I don't have to wait for the sculpey to cure before adding more. This sculpey will keep for months, allowing me to correct mistakes or to let the model sit on my work table while I do other things.
I hope, tomorrow, to begin work on the head. I'll need to consult some more reference material, but I'm not looking for absolute accuracy; I just want folks to take a glance and think, "Oh dear, a dead mammoth."
The stomach will be open and organs laid about, including a pile of intestines that will trail back into the carcass. It will be gruesome.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quick recipes: Painting caucasian flesh

So my dad asked me how to mix a flesh tone. My first thought was, "Well I use Foundry Flesh 5a-c." Then I got to thinking about a question asked by many mini painters: "Who makes a good flesh tone?"
I think we take for granted what many paint manufacturers offer us for caucasian flesh tones. Most of us (me included) look through different companies' palettes seeking the perfect flesh tone, and there are a few good ones out there. But, if you really want the "perfect" flesh tone, you can mix it quite easily yourself with three simple colors: Yellow, Red and White. Any yellow, yellow ochre and even light brown will work- the darker ochres providing for darker flesh shades. And the same for red; any red will work, light to dark. Different shades will result from different reds and yellows as well as from the differing proportions in which you mix your yellow, red and white. A little experimentation is all you need. Sometimes, a touch of blue helps to kill the "orangeness" of some combinations, but use very little blue. The blue is a powerful pigment and will muddy up your mix quickly if you're not careful.

The illustration I provided shows three mixes: one for a shade, one for the middle color, and one for the highlight. The swatches to the left show, roughly, the proportions of colors I used. The color swatches shown to the right are the Foundry premixed flesh equivelants I tried to match. The matches are not perfect, but you get an idea of all that you need to get a decent flesh tone.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Prehistoric burial

Here's the finished burial site. The wildflowers were a last-second addition; they're random pieces of floral stems.

A couple projects

So I'm still using Sculpey. Here are a couple projects incorporating the medium: One is a firemaker for my prehistoric tribe. He is an ancient German figure from Foundry (but sculpted by Mark Copplestone, just like the rest of the tribe.) The sculpey bit here is the fire lantern he is carrying.

To do the lantern, I first sculpted tiny tusk/horn/bone bits. I baked them then glued them together with superglue. The bottom "plate" of the lantern is a scapular (shoulder blade) piece I had sculpted earlier (don't throw out anything you sculpt with Sculpey.) Once the glue was dry, I then place a small glob of greenstuff inside the lantern and sculpted a small fire burning over some tender. Wait 24 hours; glue to an unpainted figure; prime and paint!

The burial sit was larger but much easier. The longest part was actually building up the burial mound/hole. The bulk was built up over aluminum foil (see earlier post about building a prehistoric hut.) The hides were made (as explained in that earlier post) and used to line the grave. Tools, a small tusk and a large femur bone were sculpted to accompany my caveman to the afterlife.
The caveman is another Foundry ancient German (great alternative cavemen.) I used pliers to squeeze his arms together and straighten his legs a bit. Then I wrapped him with a flattened piece of sculpey. I engraved some fur into his covers and threw everything into the oven.
"You threw a lead/pewter figure into the oven?!"
Yep. 275 degrees for 40 minutes didn't melt him.
Once everything was baked, the mound was glued to a CD disk, and the covered body was glued into the grave along with his tools and trophies. As I write, the burial site is sitting in the back room drying from a coat of primer. I hope to finish the piece today.
I love the burial site. I remember going to the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., with my dad and seeing a life-size diorama of a prehistoric burial site. So now I have myself a little token of that memory, also a nice terrain piece and objective marker for prehistoric games.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Reaper mini: 3362 Kjell Bloodbear

Ahh, I managed to finish something nice. This is a conversion of Reaper's Kjell Bloodbear barbarian mini. I've clipped the two cleaver-like swords he was holding in each hand. In his right hand, I drilled a hole to as steep an angle as I could (for what I was about to do) and inserted a weapon shaft. At this point, I wasn't sure what sort of weapon I would give him. I rattled around my bits boxes to see what options I had. My final options were a hammer, a spear and an axe. It came down to the spear and axe.
In the end, as you can see, I settled on the axe. I would have preferred the spear, but I didn't have a spearpoint with enough mass that I could drill a hole into it with which to attach to the shaft. I'm still happy with the large axe- He definitely looks the barbarian part holding the large axe and glaring at whomever off-frame.
The shield is a spare viking shield I had from Foundry. I do like Foundry's viking shields; I've used them for different fantasy mini conversions (as well as for wheels for a hotdog stand ((see under my pulp links.)))
I can't remember right off who I stole the idea from, but I liked the mammoth motif on the shield. Following that cro-magnon inspiration, I kept all the colors very earthy except for the armor and fur (though the fur is still natural.) The back of the cape is somewhat blue, but I started with Reaper Propaints Walnut, then added successive highlights of Foundry Blue 21B. In fact, most of the darker colors started with a base of ProPaint Walnut to which was added highlights of something else (usually a Foundry paint.)
The flesh was a basic 1-2-3 layering of Foundry 55A, 5B and 5C.

Note: This mini, though not sculpted by Mark, reminds me a lot of Copplestone's minis, not in style, but in the way it was sculpted; There were a lot of flat areas bereft of inscribed or carved detail. This is NOT a bad thing; I like the style because it gives the painter more of a blank palette on which to paint. This is one of the reasons I love Copplestone's minis. They're not void of detail, they just have plenty of space on the mini for you to let your brush glide more freely.
Incidentally, Kjell Bloodbear was sculpted by Matt Gubser. Matt's other Reaper sculpts have the same paintable style as Kjell. Matt, to me, is the new Copplestone of fantasy minis.
I need to return to painting figures not for games, but because I like the sculpts. Games can always be filled in later. Time to go to the store and see what Gubser sculpts are on the Reaper racks!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Knuckleduster, and a brief review on 40mm old west figures

I wanted to hold off this brief review of Knuckleduster's 40mm cowboys until I finished painting the few I have, but I'll do it now and post the photos later:

For those who play 40mm old west, you'll have already found that there are few companies who have much in this genre. HLBS, I think, has the most complete collection of 40mm old west figures. HLBS owner Richard Kemp is now ending his 28mm lines to focus on his 40mm stuff; so maybe we'll see a return to his ecellent old west stuff.
For those who like to game Cavalry vs. Indians, Sash and Saber is great. Chris Hughes has geared Sash and Saber minis not toward small skirmishes, but full blown battles, and his figures are sold as such: You can purchase figures in packs of 20 infantry or 7 cavalry- but the prices remain reasonable.
And now Knuckleduster has entered the picture. WHat I enjoyed about Knuckleduster's 28mm old west range wasn't the "shooter" figures, but the "sideline" figures and vignettes. Knuckleduster has a bank set, a poker set, even a faro table with dealer, assistant and player.
When I was informed Knuckleduster would be going into the 40mm business, I was hoping they would continue this tradition of the vignette.
Now nothing has come of any "vignettes" yet, but the line is brand spankin' new. I am glad, however, that Knuckleduster released some civilians early. I prefer my old west games to be populated, forcing the players to not run around, guns a blazin' for fear of accidentally hitting an innocent. HLBS has a few civilians, but Knuckledusters should compliment them just fine.

Another nice addition to the 40mm old west genre from Knuckleduster are the casualty figures. I enjoy a bloody shootout, and what better way than to have the bodies lie where they fall. The casualty figures can also double as wounded figures that must be rescued in some scenarios. The only con I find with them is that they cost just as much as standing figures BUT, Kuckleduster figures are reasonably priced anyway at $12 for three figures. On top of that, most figures come with separate arms and heads with a nice variety to choose from. This also allows numerous customization options. (I plan on taking my bearded Knuckleduster head and add it to an HLBS body to make a Cookie figure:)

Now I admit, I was a bit worried before I received my first batch (well, just one set to try out.) The figures shown in the photos on Knuckleduster's web site looked somewhat "wirey" and the guns a bit small, but the figures I got in person were well-cast, well-proportioned and held great weapons (I love the winchester one of my cowboys is carrying.) Hopefully, I can clear some projects out of the way and get my Knuckleduster figs painted, so you can see them in the flesh (360 degrees and painted.)

Knuckleduster also sells mounted figures- in fact, the mounted figues are copies of some of the figures on foot, so that you can make foot and mounted versions of the same character. The figures look good on the web site, but I haven't purchased any mounted figures yet, so I cannot judge the horses (size, proportion, etc.)

Knuckleduster, based on what I've seen on the web site, and the few figures I have bought, has made a nice entry into the 40mm old west genre. The figures fit very nicely with HLBS's old west figures; they're very reasonably priced (they cost about the same as many 28mm old west figures); I'm glad they're doing civilians; and I love that someone finally did some old west casualties.
If you're gaming 40mm old west, do not hesitate to try some Knuckleduster figures!

Oh, and here's their web site: