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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The old mercenary

This is one of my favorite (maybe THE favorite) Reaper sculpts. I only now got around to purchasing it (along with my last order.) I had waited to buy it because I didn't care much for the other figures in the pack (2584 Townsfolk,) and with my direct order, I was able to purchase the figure separately. (Most Reaper items can be purchased bit by bit; check out Reaper's "Boneyard.")

I like this figure for a few reasons. It's very paintable; I would recommend it for any beginner. There is just enough detail and large planes to make it simple and/or challenging all at once, allowing the painter to set his own level of difficulty. I also like that there is a little bit of character to the face; it's a lamentable face, a man on his last legs, a face that could have it's own little story. I enjoy a sculpt that can tell a story by itself with little to no props.

I took that story one step further by doing a slight conversion, turning his walking stick into an old spear, painting him with a regimental black and red combination, turning him into an old mercenary who has fought his last war and now seeks money off the battlefields. If the mood strikes me, I'd play this as a D&D character, as a fighter who is without strength or constitution, but plenty of wisdom, a warrior who fights more with wits and experience than with bravado or brawn.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Black dragon swamp base

Just a quick update before I give this dragon back to Jeff; Here's the finished base. The puddles were made with 2-part epoxy resin mixed with just a tiny bit (as in, a TINY drop on the end of a toothpick) of paint. Then I threw up the tall reed grass using bristles from an old bamboo wash brush. Next came some darker grass flock, and finally the grass tufts.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Some Reaper orcs

While playing with the dragon, I found time to finish up my brown orcs. The large orc with the 2-handed sword is Reaper No. 2335 "Black Orc Warrior," while the other three came in a pack- Reaper No. 3502 "Classics: Orcs." The classic orcs are available individually on Reaper's site. I've mentioned before, but I'll repeat, I like these orcs because even though they're a more modern sculpt, they still have some old-school styling. That's what I like about this current project: Even though, I'm looking for more modern sculpts, I'm painting up these figures based on 1st edition D&D descriptions (Monster Manuals, Deities and Demigods, etc.)

I did a couple minor conversions; I replaced the orc archer's bow with a piece of shaped brass wire; I'm always paranoid about bows (and other thin weapons) bending/breaking with as much handling as they take, so I almost always take steps to strengthen them. On the second orc from the left, I replaced the axehead with a bearded axe (my preferred style of axe.) The pinning on the axe wasn't my best, so I strengthened it with a little bit of greenstuff in the guise of weapon plumage; I used the leftover greenstuff from the axe to make the plumage on the helmet of the4 first orc on the left.

Next up are a troll, cyclops and minotaur. I'll also order some hobgoblins and bugbears for later.

I may have another go at a few repaints of some of Jeff's D&D plastic minis after having success with the dragon; I could probably start with the beholder sitting on my table right now.

Dungeons and Gangsters and Dragons

So, I put the dragon up temporarily on my gangster's shelf - and then this little slice of fun entered my mind.   The background is photoshopped. And yes, that car fit perfectly in the dragon's hands.

I hope those guys have +5 Vorpal Thompson machineguns with drum magazines of the Unending Bullet.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

D&D repaint: Gargantuan Black Dragon

Since this dragon was a large figure, it wasn't too difficult to paint; just a lot of - a LOT - of drybrushing. Then the teeth, horns, claws, talons etc were picked out. I didn't change too much in the way of color choice from the original paint, just a little bit of blue-black highlighting for the wing membranes and some dark fleshiness for the inside of the mouth. Though the colors haven't changed much from the original, they are more muted and blended. The paint also helps to matte down the figure so it looks less like plastic.

It's still not quite finished; I'm going to do a base for it. Probably a lot of grasses, bushes, reeds and water puddles (apparently, the black dragon resides in the swamps.)

A quick note: I primed the figure with black acrylic paint. The acrylic drys with enough flexibility to not crack when the wing membranes flex during handling. I've tried a spray, but the soft plastic makes the primer tacky to the touch. So go acrylic!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

D&D ochres, oozes and slimes

No D&D game would be complete without an ochre jelly, gray ooze and green slime. These were easy to make. I used a bit of Sculpey to bulk out the "body" of each slime. For the ochre jelly, I mixed a little (JUST a little) bit of ochre paint to some epoxy resin and poured it over the (baked/cured) Sculpey base, then glued it on a display base ... well, it essentially glued itself to the base.
The gray ooze was my attempt to sculpt a slime in movement. Meh. Not the best, but it gets the job done. It's shiny here because the paint isn't dry. I could varnish it, and the effect would be adequate, but I want this sucker to shine, so once it is dry, I will coat the ooze with a layer of clear epoxy resin. The same goes for the green slime. Later I'll find proper bases for them.
And I think I'm short one -yep - I need a black pudding. I think Dr. Egon Spengler would be proud of this humble collection.

Orc teaser

Here are my orcs with their skin painted. The AD&D Monster Manual describes their skin as either brown or brown-green with a blue sheen. I wasn't in the mood for mixing paint, so I went with brown straight up. But at least they're still not green. And it will add to the diversity of color in my selection of baddies- orange gobbos, brown orcs, ochre bugbears, gray hobgoblins etc.

By the way, I like the sculpt of the three regular orcs here; they're more recent (Reaper) sculpts, but they still have a lot of old-school spirit about them. The big guy is pretty frickin' sweet, too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Orange goblins: Boss and mage

Here are the last of my goblins. Both of these figures actually came in the same pack, Reaper No. 2876 Goblin Leader and Shaman - oh, so it's a shaman.

I had fun painting all these gobbos. They represent the beginning of a larger project I'd like to do. I want to put together encounters for D&D. So the last few days I've painted my "goblin encounter." Next, I'd like to do an "orc encounter," and then a "bugbear/hobgoblin encounter." I'm not sure how far I will take this; I'll probably fill at least one chessex box. So far, I have these goblins, a few orcs, a cyclops, minotaur, troll and basilisk. I'd like to get the aformentioned bugbears and hobgoblins. I'd also like to do a few more iconic dungeon monsters (beholder and roper, for example.) I think I will also have some fun and make my own ochre jelly, black pudding and gray ooze (using epoxy resin, greenstuff and/or Sculpey.) I haven't thought about anything past that yet, but all of the figures will probably be Reaper.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Orange goblins

I had a productive weekend of painting, and ended the weekend (my weekends are Sunday and Monday) by finishing all my Reaper goblin warriors. I still have their leader and a goblin mage to finish up. I'll do those tomorrow and Wednesday, maybe.

I'm happy with how these turned out. And I have no regrets with choosing the orange skin.

I also finished up my basilisk (another Reaper sculpt.) I'm happy with the colors (sticking to the description in the original AD&D Monster Manual). But I wasn't thinking when I ordered this one, only later realizing there was another Reaper basilisk with a more old-school sculpt that I like better. I may get the second one, later, anyway.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Old school AD&D: Cyclops

Here's my old-school cyclops which might make an appearance in my D&D session in a few weeks.
The sculpting, again, was primitive, but the larger size of this figure made it easier to paint than those old goblins.

I only just now realized that I've finished painting some old school goblins and this cyclops, and next on the table are my newer (Reaper) goblins as well as a newer (also Reaper) cyclops. I've started the goblins, and they're already a lot more fun to paint than the old versions were. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of the old school goblins, and they have some wonderful character and nostalgia about them, but from a strict painting opinion, I find the newer stuff much more enjoyable to actually paint.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Orange goblin skin

I'm just movin' right along today, granted, some of these goblins were already mostly painted. Here's a casual step-by-step showing both the goblins and the paints I'm using (all Foundry.) I'm gonna have to fiddle with my camera settings; the orange color is making everything a bit dark.

Now, I have to get ready to go to work. Sigh.
Update: Scroll to the bottom for a better photo showing the color.

From whim to dragon

Among the items in Jeff's boxes of old school minis was this dragon, unassembled, but complete. So, on a whim, I threw it together with the extra glue and greenstuff I had sitting after gluing and basing the other minis. Since he was assembled, I went ahead and primed him with the rest of the bunch.

Later (today), I started varnishing all of the past two month's work. I sat at my table looking at what to paint next. I figured I'd throw on a quick drybrush base layer on this dragon. One layer turned into two; two layers turned into three, and suddenly he was finished! Jeff likes dragons, so this one is going back to him tomorrow.

Friday, February 17, 2012

42mm samurai: Red ninja

And here's the last of the 42mm samurai that were on my table. Why red? Why not? I had to have a little fun, and who's to say what the hell color I can paint my minis? In fact, especially for you Napoleonic painters out there, don't let anyone criticize your color selections. If anyone ask why you used a certain color, just say, "Because that's the color I wanted to paint it."

Though, honestly, if it were me and someone criticized my colors and asked why, I'd just tell them, "Fuck you, that's why."

Honestly, it's refreshing to paint with colors that don't fit at all. Try some figures with purple skin, or pink clothes or yellow camouflage (and not just fantasy or sci-fi figures- try it on a random extra historical figure). Think Andy Warhol or Wayne Thiebaud. Use the exercise to freshen up your brush skills without your mind preoccupied with palette selection.

Now it's time for the old-school cyclops! Yellow with purple and pink poka-dots for skin! Nah, I'll keep him traditional.

42mm samurai: Ikko ikki (More peasants)

Finally, here are my two peasants (heads swapped) from Steve Barber. They complete my modest ikko ikki group. Not much to say on these except that I kept the colors simple and drab.

I still have a ninja to finish (she's mostly finished,) and then on to some Reaper stuff. Though, there might be a couple more samurai in the near future.

I might also sneak in another old-school mini or two during all this.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sacrilegious envelopes (plus Reaper update)

I got a couple comments for my envelope art, so I figured I'd post a few more. I also illustrate/doodle on my letters; I enjoy writing to friends and family, mostly because it gives me a chance to do random or silly art. That, and it keeps my brush hand loose.

I wonder how many Virgin Mary stamps I have left over? And thank god most of my family is Catholic, so that they have a sense of humor.

Also, my Reaper order arrived as I was typing this post (Basilisk, classic orcs, troll, old model black orc, and beggar from the townsfolk range). In the past, I have complained about casting issues with Reaper minis (bad mold lines, lots of flash, even some right-out miscasts.) But those orders were always through third-party vendors. 

This order was direct from Reaper, and there were no casting issues (a few mold lines and a bent weapon, but nothing I can't easily handle.) Coupled with the three days it took for the minis to arrive AND with free postage, I think I'll order more Reaper stuff direct. (By the way, free U.S. postage for orders over $25 -- one of the best free postage offers I think I've seen anywhere.) Oh- and not only that- Reaper sent me a sample of one of their paints. It doesn't say what specific color its is on the label, (just "1/2 oz. free sample,") but the color is very close to the orange I plan on painting my Goblins! 

So either I'm lucky, or I have a fan in the Reaper shipping department. Thanks, Reaper!
(By the way, this isn't a paid ad- I sincerely am happy with this order. You can see all my favorite makers and sellers listed near the top left of my blog.)

Old school D&D goblins

And here are the finished goblins to go up against my the adventurers. Just five goblins? Well, the adventurers are only first level, and there are no such things as healing surges, and I DO have a cyclops yet to paint.

The primitive sculpting was difficult and sometimes frustrating to paint (but I do enjoy their character). It also probably didn't help that I was trying to speedpaint these a bit, too. (I have my busy week at the office this week, so I'm trying to get some painting finished before.)

I like that D&D goblins aren't cliche green, but rather described as having skin color ranging from red to orange to yellow. So I chose yellow for this crew. For a base color, I used Foundry Dusky Flesh; I wanted the base to be more of a "living" color to help make the yellow (Foundry yellow ochre) appear more natural. I'm pleased with the result. I have my Reaper goblins to paint up in the near future, but I think I will go more orange with them (much like my goblin pirate painted earlier this month.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Old School Adventurers (true 25mm) finished!

Here are the four adventurers who will partake in my 1st edition game in a few weeks. The wizard at the left will be a stand-in for a monk since my friend (whose figures these were) had no suitable figure, otherwise. The wizard(monk), as I've been informed by followers, is an old Grenadier sculpt. the other three figures (Cleric, Paladin and halfling) are all sculpted by Ral Partha for TSR.

The Grenadier figure was rough. It didn't have a lot of well-sculpted detail, especially the hand in front holding a pouch- I'm not sure if it was miscast or accidentally filed away- but it only has two fingers. I had to make up as much as I could; we'll just say something bit the rest of his fingers off.
The Ral Partha figures were also a bit difficult to paint, but only because they're smaller than I'm used to. They have some well-sculpted detail for sure, and they were definitely a joy to paint. To give you a reference point of size: The bases are the smaller 20mm slottabases (not the regular 25mm size.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Old-school detour

I WILL finish the last of my current 42mm samurai, but in the mean time, I've started on these old TSR and Grenadier figures. My friends and I, after seeing that Wizards of the Coast are re-releasing the 1st edition AD&D books, decided to have a go at the 1st edition rules (one of my friends has all the original books.) We're just going to do one small dungeon-crawl session, but I thought it'd be nice to use almost-original figures with the old rules. (I'm also using graph paper, and will get some pizza rolls as well as seek out some old-style bottles of Mt. Dew. The only thing we won't have is a musty basement.)

I've gone with yellow goblins here (they're the Grenadier models, by the way). And I'm keeping everything else simple: all leather using the same palette, three-layer base colors, no experimentation with color combos. The paladin (in blue), Cleric (in gray) and halfling assassin (hiding up front) are TSR figures. I'm not sure what make the wizard is (in brown next to the paladin.)

I've also ordered a few minis from Reaper, some stuff for playing old-school style D&D games (though newer figures and using 4th ed.) I'll try to push through and finish these figures, then finish my samurai, then get a good start on my newer Reaper stuff, which includes some nice goblins I've had tucked away for a couple years, a few classic Reaper orcs, a troll, cyclops and a basilisk.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Reaper Bathalian Pirate

This is another figure from the lead mountain. It's Reaper No. 3135 Bathalian Pirate. To give you an idea of how long he was sitting in my lead mountain; I purchased this figure originally when I first learned that 4 edition D&D would have dragonborn - this was before the game had even come out. I was going to use this figure as an alternative dragonborn figure (as if there were any actual dragonborn sculpts out there at the time, anyway.)

This is an easy figure to paint, but requires a lot of patience. There are a lot of details on this figure -- a lot of stuff that can get missed. But nothing is hidden, hard to get to, or difficult to paint. You just have to keep at it, rotate the figure often to see what you missed, and resign yourself to opening and re-opening the same colors over and over again.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

42mm samurai: Conversion

Here's the finished samurai conversion all painted up. Everything went well with this figure- the conversion and the painting. Not much to say except that I'm happy with how it turned out.

Also shown below is my converted figure next to the vanilla version.