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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Mice and Mystics: Maginos, Filch, Tilda and Lily

With the day off, I blitzed through the final figures for Mice and Mystics. I have the four final heroes - Maginos, Filch, Tilda and Lily - painted inked and sitting on the table waiting for the matte varnish to dry.

I didn't do anything special or different with these figures, so I'll just post the photos. Now, to refresh myself on the rules so I can play a game this week.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mice and Mystics: Collin and Nez

Here are the first two heroes from Mice and Mystics, Collin (in cape) and Nez. Again, the fun factor was high while painting these. There were no difficult details to paint, and the sculptor kept all the elements well-defined and easy to pick out. Nez had some mould lines on his head that I forgot to deal with, but that doesn't bother me much, if at all; these are not contest minis, these are little place keepers for a board game.

Collin was pretty straight forward. Red cape, brown fur (with white underbelly), leather belting. After the cape was finished I washed it with some brown ink.

Originally, the shaft to Nez's hammer was bent, so I cut it out and replaced it with some brass rod. I was worried about converting a mini in a hard-to-find game, but it all worked out. (Being focused on the hammer work is probably why I missed the mould lines. Oh well- no biggie.)

One of the decisions I was thinking about was whether to paint the heroes based on the character cards from the game, or use my own schemes. I decided on the cards, and it's kind of nice, for once, leaving the color choice out of my hands; it's just one less thing to think about.

Mouse Goes to Work: A couple more pages

I added a couple more pages to "Mouse Goes to Work." I'm enjoying this little series if only because it's going nowhere. That, and it's fun to illustrate.

Now, I'm just wondering how pig got so fat eating those tiny, little donuts.

Work continues on the Mice and Mystics figures, by the way, though, progress has slowed this weekend while I spend time with friends (and do these random Mouse art pages.)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Another cute animal drawing

I actually started these before I bought Mice and Mystics, though it all still stems from this mysterious need to draw and paint little cute animals. I bought a new sketchbook since finishing the last a couple weeks ago, and this new one is made with watercolor paper. It's also much larger- 9x12 versus 5x8.

My original intent was to do full sketches on one page each, so that I wouldn't have to deal with the sketchbook's seam down the middle during scanning. But I'm still using the whole spread -- 18x12 inches worth of space -- and erasing the seam on Photoshop.

There's really no story with "Mouse." It's just going to be random incidents and large art put into the sketchbook on slow days. So far I only have the two pieces. Hopefully, there'll be more to follow.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

All the minions for my Mice and Mystics game are painted. These were all fun and easy to paint.

I painted the rats in grays and browns to differentiate between regular rat warriors and elite rat warriors for the game. 

For the spider, I was originally intending to paint it in with bright orange or blue markings to give it an other-worldy feel, but I decided to stay with some natural browns and off-white to give it a more down-to-earth feel (to try to make the players just a touch more uneasy about having it on the board.)

Again- I'm having a blast painting these! I also heard through the grapevine (Internet) that Plaid Hat Games is working on "another set of minis" for the game. I'm not sure if this means they want to make these specific minis as a separate box, or if they'll be putting out some new minions (what they call the enemy figure is Mice and Mystic). Either way, if the game is too expensive for you, I recommend at least picking up some of the new minis to try; No assembly, fun sculpts and easy to paint.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mice and Mystics: Creepy crawlies

Yep, I've been distracted by these wonderful Mice and Mystics figures. But I will get back to Dreadball; all I have left for DB for the time being is an orx team, the ref and a couple MVPs.

But I love these figures Plaid Hat Games has put into its Mice and Mystics board game. The plastic is a good blend of hard (to accept the primer easier) and soft (offering a bit of "give" for durability.) The sculpts also have well-defined and confident lines; these are pleasing to paint.

There are only 22 minis in the box (including the 8 roaches), and many people aren't pleased by the price tag ($75 retail), but it doesn't bother me too much. Honestly, if I had the choice between spending $75 on Mice and Mystics or $65 on any of the D&D Ravenloft, Ashardalon dungeon crawl games, which have twice as many figures, I'd choose Mice and Mystics. M&M is something I think I'll be purchasing all the expansions for. And, at least for me, getting a game that only has 22 figures makes it more likely that I'll get around to painting them (which I have, as you can see.)

It's not a game for everyone; it's an intro game for kids, but it's a nice relaxing diversion from the more in-depth games my friends like to play (and I can play it solo, moving cute little mice about, rolling some dice and watching some television.

Oh, I guess I should say something about painting these particular figures: The roaches were a simple drybrushing of a few browns, from tannish to reddish, then brown-inked. The centipede was a lot more detailed. Instead of drybrushing the segments, I went in and roughly painted each of the lines along the grain of the segments. I copied this scheme from someone else, though I went a bit more orangish with the legs.

I still have the rats to finish, a nice spider mini, and, of course, our heroes.

Snails. Why? Because snails.

I felt like throwing together my own little extras for my copy of Mice and Mystics. I'm not sure what I'm going to use the snails for, but they helped to scratch a bit of the sculpting itch, and they look just so ding-danged cute.

These were EASY to make. I sculpted a somewhat-snail shaped body out of Sculpey. The I rolled out a sausage of Sculpey that tapered to one end. I coiled the sausage up and that was the shell. Then I rolled out a few eye stalks with green stuff.

After everything was baked or cured, I drilled out some holes in the snail heads and glued in the eye stalks. A quick black prime and some random drybrushing (with a few added stripes on one snail) and the smails were done.

I mounted them on 30mm Proxie Model bases (since they were close in size to the large base size for the Mice and Mystics game.)

I had some Sculpey snails from a few years ago that I was going to use for a racing game (for which I never created rules nor found a published ruleset to strip down.) Since these were so easy, I may do three or four more and do racing snails anyway. If for anything, I could give these to little cousins and I'm sure they'll make up their own rules.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dreadball: Lucky Joe joins the Rockets

Here's my Lucky Joe figure painted up to play for the Rockets. I painted him in my team's colors so that if I use him in league, he'd be in the right colors, and also so that I can use him (in one-off games) as a simple alternate pose for a jack or striker.

These figures are still a touch difficult for me to paint up due to their smaller size (true 25mm) and make look as good as my other stuff. But I'm getting used to it, and I still think these will look dandy when they actually make it onto the pitch.

Other minis news: I picked up a copy of Mice and Mystics today. I've wanted to paint some little mice for a while now; this'll be my first chance.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Iotacorp: A few more pics

I just wanted to throw up a few more pics to give a more complete view of my Dreadball team.
Also, here's my team's background copied over from the Mantic forums. Next up, I think I'll paint up my Lucky Joe figure using the Rockets' colors. Then maybe I'll start on the orcs.

The small company IotaCorp was named after the far-flung system on which it was founded, Iota Secunda. IotaCorp (secretly) specializes in designing and manufacturing weaponized nano-drones built using atomic-level sized parts, (unofficially) for use in assassination; It's rumored that IotaCorp's largest contract is with Corp Central (and possibly even the Council of Seven.) To deal with this rumor and preserve its true commercial purpose, IotaCorp (and its handlers) opted for the ploy of hiding in the open, so they founded a Dreadball team, the Rockets.

At all IotaCorp Rockets' games, fans are treated to ads lauding IotaCorp's " ... advances in surveillance, internal tech diagnostics and advanced subatomic medicine. Because when your life is on the line, the little things matter. IotaCorp: We deal in details."

The Rockets have yet to win a championship, or even to advance much in postseason league play. But they continue to play, disseminating the company's message while hiding its true machinations.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Iotacorp team

Here's my starting Iotacorp Rockets team. Still a couple figures to come next year (alternate poses as well as a keeper.)

It's been a while since I've done any kind of "army" painting, that is, painting any number of figures  with the same uniform scheme (even if there are a few variations here.)

Here's also a reverse view showing the yet-to-be-finished number plate (or i could just give them all happy faces.) You can also see the area of the torso I've painted as leather. I wanted a touch of old school with these futuristic players.

I'm going to move on to the orcs this weekend. As far as I know, the main pieces of armor will be rusted through and through. The plan is to then roughly paint a color scheme on top of the rust. This will match the tentative background for the team, who will be a bunch of scrap metal smugglers, who've had their armor fashioned using their favorite pieces of found metal which was then spraay- or brush-painted over by the orcs themselves. I think I'll call them Skrag's Scrappers.

I also have another human team. I have no idea what scheme to give them yet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Started Dreadball

I got my shipment of Dread Ball stuff. Everything is cleaned and assembled (took a couple hours for the 40 or so figures I have.)

I drybrushed the whole figure with silver (that was easy and fun,) then I painted in the contrasting yellow along with the accents, followed with some inking to pull some details back out.

This is my first try at my IotaCorp Rockets uniform scheme. It came out a touch rough, but I think I can improve. It was difficult to get a straight line from the apex of the yellow "triangle" down to at least the knees. 

Part of the difficulty is that these are small figures (probably true 25mm if you don't include the base.) Coming down from 54mm isn't too bad of a transition, but I can still "feel" it. Oh well, this was the first; there are plenty more to go. The orcs will be easy enough- I plan on giving them all a healthy dose of rust.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Piglet's Rocket

Here's some more Winnie-the-Pooh fan art. It was a long day at work (newsroom) with the school shooting on the television the whole time.

I needed to do something light-hearted and a bit more whimsical than usual to lighten the load on the soul.

There's no profanity here; your young ones can read this very short episode along with you.

Click here to read on!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pooh Bear

I was starting to get a little worried that I've only painted (finished) one mini in the past month, but then I looked and realized I had a similar painting slowdown around this time last year.

No worries, the Dreadball is on its way- there'll be plenty to paint then! And thanks for coming back to check my blog to see if there's anything new. I especially appreciate the patience of those who are not fans of profanity-laced children's illustrations.

In the mean time, here's another of my little illustrations. This one is of a bear more famous than my own Bear Brown. I love the style of artist E.H. Shepard (I'd call it a relaxed, whimsical doodling style,) and I wanted to do something at least inspired if not very similar to it. So I sketched this up quick. It still bears a bit of my humor ... oh, a pun, dammit.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Bear Brown Christmas

I know, I know, it's been a while since I've painted any minis. I think it's because I'm waiting eagerly for my Dread Ball stuff to arrive, and I'm reluctant to start anything new.

Anyway, in the spirit of the holiday season, here is an inspirational tale about how Bear Brown learns the true meaning of Christmas:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bear Brown goes to the Corner Shop finished

I've finished "Bear Brown Goes to the Corner Shop."
You can read it here.

I'm thinking of new ideas for the next Bear Brown story. Maybe Bear Brown goes Bowling, or Bear Brown learns the true meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A couple pages added to Bear Brown

For those who liked the Bear Brown story, I've added a couple pages.
The whole story can be read here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Random dinosaurs

The creative block was strong today, so I painted up a random pair of parasaurolophuses.

(And in case you're wandering what that dark line down the center is; that's the center of the page spread in my sketchbook. I like to draw and paint across both pages.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Varp Krigarr

Oy, it's been a while since I finished something. Today's something is a Varp Krigarr figure from Red Box Games. I kept the painting on this one simple; I just applied my 5-layer flesh recipe, rusted up his sword, vegetated the base and called it done. He's so naked, he's not even wearing tattoos.

Though the painting was simple, I spent a little time slightly reposing this figure. Originally, he was walking on level ground, dragging whatever huge weapon you chose to arm him with. My intent was to give him an axe, but to do so, I needed to raise the figure's front a bit to allow space between the ground and the axe blade. After I bent his forward leg a bit (in the wrong direction), I noticed he looked like he was taking a step up, so I went with it, placing the rock under this leading leg. It was a last-minute decision to give him a sword instead of an axe (sword being my preferred D&D weapon.)

And a last minor note: This is my first figure based on one of Proxie Models' bases. It works great. Even though the lip was slight, there was still enough to fill with green stuff, allowing for flagstones to be carved out. The lower base also feels MUCH more stable, especially with this slightly larger, top-heavy figure.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Some more art (but less humorous)

I just returned from vacation, so I've been away from the minis table. There have also been a lot of warmer-than-usual days that I wanted to take advantage of. But Dread Ball is being shipped this week, so I have some incentive to make room on my painting table.

In the mean time, here's some more random art I did from around town the past few weeks. What the hell -- I'll add a pinata full of scorpions at the end.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Working on my "children's" story

Been busy at work, so I hadn't had a chance to start painting figures. But then my vacation week started a couple days ago, but I've been practicing watercolor by making my own little "children's" story.

There's a reason I have "children's" in quotes.

If you don't mind a bit of irreverent humor and at your own peril, visit "Bear Brown Goes to the Corner Shop" at my private blog. The story is only five little pages; I think that's all it needs, and that's all I had planned, anyway. There's space in the storyline to continue.

But I also have figures to paint.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Varp Krigarr arrived

Here is one of the Varp Krigarrs from Red Box Games. Red Box has three or four poses, two of which are totally nude. I prefer the nude versions if only to make some of my D&D mates a touch uncomfortable around my figures.

This particular Krigar was originally sculpted as if on level ground. I simply bent the front foot down a touch to make the figure easily fit into this stepping-up-on-a-stone position. I did this originally to give him some clearance for an axe, but in the last minute, I switched to a sword (when I play D&D, I prefer two-handed swords because my D10s roll better than my D12s.)

I also wanted to do a sword, because I enjoy hammering on the little anvil. It took me two tries to get the sized blade I wanted. The other blade is going into the parts box.

I finally get all the figures together for this current batch I want to work on, and I'm out of primer. Ugh. Oh well, an excuse to go for a nice long walk to Hobby Lobby.

Blog Update: So a few folks like the white and some like the black. For the time being, I'm trying a minor compromise: The background is no longer pure black, but a dark gray. And to help with legibility, I've raised the font size in my posts by one point. It's not much, but see how you all like it.

I'm still not against going for the white background, though I agree with some that all that white glare does hurt the eyes a bit sometimes (I'm a touch sensitive to light myself.) Perhaps black text on light gray background?

I'll keep playing around with the colors, and reading what folks think about white vs. black.

Black text over white?

So reading a thread over at TMP about white/light text over black backgrounds on blogs, I was thinking about why I made the choice to have a black background for my blog (knowing it was the poorer design choice.) Essentially, I was going to treat my blog as sort of a shadowbox with photos of my figures, wip and finished, and the black background helped me achieve this effect.

But I have written some longer pieces of text, and dark text over a white background is not a bad thing. Perhaps it's time for me to make this update? What are my readers' views on the subject? Does the light text over black bother you? Is it any more difficult to read? Would you prefer a lighter background?
Pros and cons of either?

The great thing about Blogger is it's just a couple button clicks away, so if white or light background doesn't seem to work for us, then it's easy enough to change back. Let me know how you all feel about it; I may change it over to white for a test period anyway to see how I feel about it, since the final say is mine. But I have to say, looking at my little test screen here, I'm kind likin' it.

Also- My Varp Krigarr arrived!! I'll post tonight with a couple pics; he's pretty neato.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Still waitin'

I'm still waiting for my Varp Krigarr from Red Box (it's not delayed or anything- I'm just waiting for it) so that I can prime it along with a small batch of figures I've cleaned and readied. Among those figures are the rest of the box set (The New Dungeon by Ral Partha, 1989) as well as a the two Reaper goblins I came across in one of my flgs's.

They're Reaper No.s 1329 and 1330. I wish I had a little more info (mostly a year) to attach to these just for a little historical posterity. They're certainly not the oldest figures I've painted, but they still retain a little of that old-school look I am starting to prefer these days. I'll probably paint them yellow-green to add to my friend Jeff's small collection of old school stuff. The New Dungeon Box was actually given to me by Jeff, but I'm painting it up slowly but surely and giving the box set back to him (along with the few random goblins and other old-school trinkets he's piled on my table.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Art while you wait

I've ordered a Varp Krigarr from Red Box Games to try to jumpstart my painting. It's essentially a but-naked barbarian. He should be a fun and easy figure to paint. Not sure if I'll do him up simple, or add some war tattoos. I'll worry about that when he arrives.

In the mean time, I've been keeping myself busy with my watercolor sketches. A couple months ago, I picked up a Pentel Pocket brush pen as well as a watercolor brush that holds its own water supply. The end result is that it makes it easy to pop these two tools and a compact watercolor box into my pockets and head out to draw and paint.

Anyway, here's some random art for perusal. The roller derby girl and the "parade" I actually did at work during some down time. The bridge was down on the spot (we had a random 80-degree fall day here in Iowa.) These were all done with brush pen and water brush.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Update: There is nothing to report

Well, it sounds like the Bones figures won't be coming until spring. I didn't order any, but my friend Jeff did, and I'll be painting a bunch. For some reason, I had thought they would be coming in late October.

Anyway, I'll try to get one or two random figures off the lead mountain to finish up and post here. Though, it sounds like my Dread Ball figures will actually be arriving sooner than later (I just hope I'm not on ((a planned)) vacation when they arrive.) There won't be a lot of Dread Ball figures, but there'll be enough. I'm looking forward to it.

On a minor note, I'm going to see if the Dread Ball hex bases are the same size as the Proxie Models hex bases. If they are, then I'm going to see which old Blood Bowl teams of mine will be joining the Dread Ball leagues.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Alphabeast reminder

This is just a friendly reminder that the Alphabeast Soup Kickstarter (for which I have a handy picture-link at the top left of this blog) ends in a week. It started fast but has slowed down and will need lots of help.

If you are the parents of crazy children, have been "committed" to the asylum, or simply enjoy whimsical children's art drawn by a crazy, blind, mute hobo-priest who lives alone under a tarp in the mountains of Nepal, then this is the book for you!

Here's that link again: Buy! Buy! Buy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gladiator Helmet: Step-by-step

Here's my promised step-by-step guide on how I sculpted my gladiator helmet.

1: I started off sculpting this basic shape out of one piece of green stuff. I carefully pinched at the bottom to draw out the neck guard, from which, after the gs had cured some, I cut the notch in the middle where the two halves of the face plate came together. The eye holes were made with a pointed clay pusher tool, and the seem in the middle was etched with a needle, all while the gs was still fresh. (Not, if you want eye holes with clean, sharp edges, you can wait until the gs cures, and then drill out the holes with a pen vise.

2: To make the front half of the brim, I laid down a small roll of gs across the top of the mask.

3: First I blended the top half of the newly laid roll into the crown of the helmet ...

4: ... Then, using my fingers (wetted with a bit of water), I gently pinched the middle and bottom half of the roll into the brim's shape, while trying to keep it even around the front. Note- You do NOT need to actually "pull" the gs into the brim shape; the act of pinching it will provide enough "pull" to get the shape you need.
At this point, you can keep the brim level around the front, or you can pull down the sides a bit for a curved or other-shaped helmet.

5: Once the front half of the brim has cured, do the same with the back half. Lay down a roll of gs ...

6: ... Blend it into the top of the helmet ...

7: ... Then pinch it into a brim shape, making necessary adjustments here and there to keep the brim even all the way around.

8: I cut the crest out of a piece of cured gs and glued it to the helmet (dry-fit it first). If you have a gap where the helmet and the crest meet, you can use a touch of gs to fill it in.

This should be all the helmet you need, but you can go further, adding a horse hair crest (I'll add one on this helmet once I've put the helmet on a body), or some engraving around the helmet. There's a couple ways you might try the engraving (that I have yet to try); You can lay a thin layer of gs over the areas to be engraved and then either use the press-mold technique or grab a need;e and actually draw whatever images or designs you want on your helmet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sculpting a gladiator helmet

Well, as you can see, I've already finished sculpting a gladiator helmet. I would call this one a smashing success (especially since this is my first try at a proper helmet.) It's rough all around, but that's easy to explain away: It's a battle-worn helmet. (Or, I was lazy.) Both of these helmets are roughly 54mm scale.

I only realized halfway through the process that I should have been taking photos. That's why I started a second helmet (shown on the right in the above photo.) The first step on my first helmet was to apply a thin layer of green stuff over a head-ish shaped piece of already-cured green stuff (the core). With my second helmet, I've bypassed the core and sculpted the, head mass, face mask and neck guard all with one piece of green stuff. It's a little more difficult to keep things clean, but it was worth it to skip at least that first step.

The next step on the first helmet was adding the front of the brim. After that cured, I added the back half of the rim, and then the crest whose shape I cut out of a piece of cure green stuff. Later, I added the extra plate on the front of the helmet and some extra green stuff around the crest, which I could then engrave a little bit. Excess from the crest was pulled down to fill in the gaps where the crest and crown of the helmet met.

I'll try to show later, as I complete my second helmet, a little more detail in how I did each of the steps I just described.