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.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Some more Foundry Pirates

A few more pirates finished today. It's too damn hot outside for my usual walk, so I had some time to paint. Nothing of not here, just some leader personalities and another able seaman. I'm keeping all of these pirates simple. Having loads of fun. A gun with two crew is up next (along with some obligatory Bones figures I need to finish.)

I'm also going to need to start basing these pirates before I have so many that it becomes a chore.

Games Workshop classic halberdier

Another random grab out of my lead mountain, I also enjoy how easy it is to paint the old Games Workshop stuff. This is one of the first Empire figures I ever bought; I know that because this figure was among a few that had a socket in the torso allowing you to choose a weapon to plug in. The options were halberd, sword and shield, or great sword. I have five or six of these guys around. I can't believe they're more than 20 years old, now.

Like the pirates, I enjoy the over-exaggerated sculpting, which makes it easier to pick out and paint details. And there's not a single skull on this GW figure!

I'm not done with the pirates -- I have a few more almost done -- I just felt like painting this guy tonight.

And soon, I'll have to paint some more Bones figures for Jeff- ugh, those suck to paint.

They're at the opposite end of the spectrum for sculpted detail; all the features are flat and the definition is shallow. I might as well be painting figure flats.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More Foundry pirates

Now I remember why I like these sculpts; they remind me of the old N.C. Wyeth illustrations from Treasure Island. And the exaggerated sculpting really does well with the 3-color English method, so I've given them a healthy dose of basic layering and black-lining.

I still have a few more (plus a small ships gun) to paint to complete the landing party. I must have used a good primer when I first painted these because it's been difficult to strip them. I'm using Simple Green, which has proven itself in the past. It's working, it's just taking a couple days longer of soaking the figures to break down the prime and base coats.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bryon paints his first minis, and I paint some pirates

My friend Bryon got his first taste of painting at Gen Con. His first effort was the Bones figure at left. He came over to my place this evening, and I gave him just a couple words of advice, let him at my Foundry paints, and he produced this Reaper Highlander figure- a great job for only his second figure ever.

He's got the basic concepts down (overbrushing, washing, layering), now all he needs to do is paint some more figures to gain practice and speed. Good job, Bryon!

While Bryon was painting that highlander, I dug some of my old Foundry pirates out of the lead mountain. I started this hobby with Games Workshop, but once I finally broke free, my first figures were Foundry's pirates. And these were a treat to paint!

I think I'll see how many I can paint before I tire of them- I hope to paint 14 of them (specifically 14, so that they'll fit into a small Chessex case.) Then I'll probably sell the small landing party (which will include a ship's gun and two-man crew, among other figures.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

42mm Samurai: Koryu buntai

Here are the core members of my little sword school group. Well, it's sort of a sword school- the lancer in there must be a double-major.

Three of these samurai were repaints. I dropped them into the Simple Green overnight. After getting the paint stripped, I added another vest (called a jinbaori, I think) to one samurai, and some forelocks to the head of another samurai (to indicate either his youth or perhaps that he's a ronin with money enough for school.)

The master of the school has had no conversion work at all. This is the only figure in my entire samurai collection who has had no conversion work.

That's it for the samurai for the time being. I'm not sure what I'll be doing next. I'm not finished with the samurai, though.

I plan on commissioning Steve Barber to sculpt at least one new samurai (unarmored samurai/priest archer, kneeling in a high-draw position.) I hope to commission him also to do a swordsman with separate arms that can be posed in a few optional ways. But all that will come later.

I have a few ideas for other sculpts to commission as well, but I need to sell some minis first to fund the work and to make space in the apartment.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

42mm Samurai: All my bushi

Since I don't plan on getting any more armored samurai, I took one more photo of my completed buntai (the Red faction above, and Lord Kaage's retinue below, along with some extra armored samurai.)

All of what's pictured on this page is for sale as a complete set for $400 (U.S. buyers only). Honestly, I'm not sure anyone will want to buy (especially at that price and at such a niche scale, and since Northstar just released some nice minis of their own in 28mm.) But I still have some sentiment attached to these figures, so I won't mind having them sit on the shelf for the time being, looking awesome.

Every figure pictured here (and I mean ALL of them) have had some form of conversion work done to them, and, of course, they're all painted somewhat competently. There are enough here to play some good games of Ronin. (And maybe I'll match Northstar's offer and throw in a ninja or two :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

42mm Samurai: Red gunner

Here's the last figure from my latest batch of 42mm samurai, a teppo ashigaru for my red faction. He painted up much faster than I expected. The Reaper HD reds are pretty good at coverage, so I'll be sticking to those (along with my Vallejo red which has pretty good coverage, too, though is a touch thick.)

Another thing I noticed was the ease at basing all of these samurai. I love love love Proxie Model bases- the lack of a prominent lip allows for more real estate to play with. I think a good exercise for any painter/hobbyist would be to grab a blank base and add terrain to it, but do the base without a figure. It's a great way to learn new techniques without the potential for ruining a nice miniature.

You could do either a few smaller bases, trying something different on each one -- a rocky base, a grassy base, a flowery base). Or you could grab a larger base and try different combinations of multiple elements. My Japanese roadside shrine actually started off as one of these basing exercises.
And yes, I noticed the gunner on this post has a plain grass base; sometimes, less is more.

I think this will be the last of the armored samurai I buy; I prefer unarmored chambara action. As I mentioned earlier, I'll probably be selling my armored samurai, and as a complete set. It'll be more expensive that way, but the buyer will have enough figures to start playing right away. The price probably won't be cheap; most of these figures have some sort of conversion work (sculpting, reposing, added clothing or armor or sashimono), and all of them have new weapons I hand made on my little anvil.

And in case anyone is interested right away, the starting price will probably be about $400 for around 25 (42mm) figures (my Lord Kaage faction, my red faction and a few extra armored samurai for hire,) easily enough to play the new Ronin rules. I'll also throw in a couple small pieces of terrain. I'm only selling to U.S. buyers, because shipping internationally would just be too expensive.

42mm Samurai: Poet and Peasant

I'm in the groove- painting is going nice and fast. I just finished this peasant and ronin.

These are two figures whose luck is heading in opposite directions. The peasant, after a nice winning streak at the gambling house, has bought himself a nice short kimono and a second-hand sword. The ronin, meanwhile, has lost his position and has only his sword, his hat, a bamboo canteen and a small bundle of odds and ends.

The hat, bundle and canteen were all made from green stuff. And, like many of my other samurai, I've filed off the kataginu shoulders so that he's only wearing his kimono. I also tried out a new color, Stained Olive (Reaper HD) for his kimono- I like it; I think it looks like a good samurai color.

Just one samurai left on the table (a teppo gunner for my red faction.) In the meantime, I'm seriously thinking of selling my armored samurai (Lord Kaage's group and my red samurai.) I'd like to whittle down my collection to those figures I'd use in a simple street skirmish (all the unarmored samurai and the peasants). I'd also like to make money enough to commission Steve Barber to do a couple more samurai poses. (We're working on one already.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

42mm Samurai: Guards

This was a fun little group to put together. The tan and blue combo came out great. The converted-to-carry-a-lance samurai turned out much better than I had hoped. The long haori vest turned out nice (I was worried about how it looked sculpted, but the paint helped it a lot.) And the bases came together nicely with a lot of unifying elements (as if these figures needed anything more to imply they were of the same group.)

I purposely did this group in similar colors so that they can represent either retainers of the same clan, maybe the core group of a weapons school or a low-level official and a couple of his guards.

I've only been doing two things this week: Working and painting. The painting has really been enjoyable and has been a nice diversion from the usual work ugliness. And all that painting has yielded three samurai already (and the other three figures with a good start.)

A question I usually get is what flesh recipe I use. Since I got some new paints, I was able to create a new recipe which I like very much for Japanese/Asian skin.

From base to highlight, I use: Reaper Pro Paint* Chestnut Brown (a beautiful brown in its own right), Reaper HD Suntan Flesh, Vallejo Model Color Light Brown, Vallejo Model Color Medium Flesh and finally (and very sparingly- just enough for a couple pinpoint highlights) Reaper HD Maiden Flesh.

*Pro Paint Chestnut Brown, not Master Series. I believe Reaper ported all their old colors from Pro to the Master Series, but I can't speak to the quality of Chestnut in the Master Series. The jar I have is almost 7 years old, and is gunky with just a few puddles of useful paint left- but just enough to at least get this batch and maybe one more batch of figures fleshed out. And for being that old, the paint has otherwise held together well- it's a touch thick, but it covers well even with a touch of water added. I miss the Pro Paints.

For a caucasian flesh, I'll use something different than Chestnut as a base. I prefer something a little more rosy and less brown, much like Foundry's Flesh 5A.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

42mm Samurai: Samurai WIP

I just wanted to show one more photo of the samurai all converted before I put them under the primer. While they're drying, I'll be cleaning off the table to get a fresh start. It's a process I do about once a month; I vacuum up stray flock, metal filings and other debris. I neaten up the brushes. I paint black over the plastic cutting board I use as a work mat. (I do this because the black acts as a non-distracting background while I'm otherwise focused on painting. I use it to clean off brushes, mix paint and test color combos. After a few weeks, my work top is a kaleidoscope of distraction.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

42mm Samurai: Group of samurai wip

Here are a few of the current group of figures I'm working on, showing what conversions I've done. From left to right, I have my yari samurai with his new arm completed, a ronin with a straw hat and a small bundle hanging off his obi, and a samurai to whom I've added simple coat tails to turn his kataginu into a vest.

The new arm wasn't too difficult; it took me two tries, but I think it turned out great. It took some patience to throw that much green stuff. I needed to layer it on, but it worked best to wait for each layer to cure before applying the next. I'm finding that there are some similarities between sculpting and painting: You lay down a base layer. Then add in the more defining shapes, and then finish off with the details. And, as mentioned already, you should wait for each layer to dry before going on to the next.

So this batch is almost done in the conversion stage; I still need to hammer out and add a few katana blades and double check for any mold lines I might have missed. But priming and painting should start sometime before the end of the week.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

42mm Samurai: Unarmored samurai with yari wip

This has been one of the most difficult of the samurai conversions. Mostly, the difficulty was in removing the figure's left arm (without a Dremel tool.)

I had originally intended to remove both arms (hence the damage to the right arm), which are integral to the body, but after all the effort it took to saw, cut and file away the left arm, I decided to just utilize the original right arm.

So I'll have to use some green stuff to repair/resculpt some folds onto the right arm. I also still need to sculpt a new left arm and thumb (as per the original plan.)

With the exception of having to hack away a bunch of thick metal, this conversion is going along smoothly and (somewhat) as planned. I'm hoping the sleeve comes out at least passable. If it doesn't, I'll just have to keep practicing; this figure isn't going anywhere.

I have a few other samurai yet to work on, though, their conversions will go much smoother. (I'm simply doing kimonos and maybe a haori or two, all of which I've done before.) I'm looking at my collection right now, and it might be getting a little too big. Maybe I'll sell some. Maybe.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

42mm samurai: Upstart peasant wip

Here is yet another conversion of one of Steve Barber's samurai peasants. He holds a katana in one hand and the scabbard in his other hand, both items from hammered brass. I cut the arms off where they meet the tunic sleeves, so that I could rotate them to accommodate the slight change in position.

I originally tried to saw off the scabbard arm at the shoulder, but my saw wasn't going to have any of that. So I added green stuff over the damage and resculpted some folds. I also used the green stuff as an opportunity to further strengthen the scabbard arm's connection to the sleeve.

I had the extra hat sitting around, so I slung that from his belt. The hat provided yet another "glue" point for both the scabbard and the back of the sword arm.

I like the look of this pose; this is a dynamic figure I can think of more than one use for: Upstart peasant who thinks he can roll with the big boys, a young bandit, or maybe even a novice swordsman/ronin (who evidently spent all his money on a sword rather than decent clothes.) I still have a chance to file away some of the bottom of the tunic and sculpt it as a short kimono; I'll see how I feel about that later. I still have a bunch of samurai waiting for conversion.