Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blogroll Adds

I added 30+ blogs to the blogroll, something I've been meaning to do for awhile. Please have a look! And if I missed yours please let me know.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Talisman Ghoul, Thief and Dwarf


 Here are the ghoul, thief and dwarf:


 
 

 

 





Three wonderful figures from the base Talisman set. Gary Chalk and Aly Morrison, you guys rock. The thief and the ghoul have similar red and purple color schemes and I will probably use this on other figures. I did the golds on the dwarf dark to light and then glazed with color, as opposed to the bright method I did on the barbarian, in fitting with the differences in the illustrations. The ghoul and thief have significant black lining which may only be visible in the full-size versions of the pics, for example, in the lines of the cloth, face, and the muscles and veins of the ghoul. I also tried an illustration-like black ink shading method on the dwarf axe that I think was successful. I chose to make the ghoul's eyes face forward as I prefer more generic, neutral poses in figures so they can interact more naturally with one another in a game. The thief's flesh is particularly jaundiced to match the illustration, using P3 Thrall Flesh as the made tone.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Talisman Prophetess





Ah, the prophetess. She's arguably the most powerful of the characters in the base game and was a favorite choice in my games back in the day.  I'd call her the easy button today. She always has a spell and draws an extra card on any space she lands on and discards one she doesn't want. Especially in the early game this means she can avoid most would-be setbacks such as encountering a dragon before one is ready, while getting double the chances of pulling a great boon like the fountain of wisdom.

I love the sculpt Ally Morrison did here, but the mold line runs right down her center looking straight on, and sculptors should know that a figure loses 25% of the mass along that axis between sculpt and casting. Here it may have been even more; she looked pretty squashed. I used greenstuff to take get her back to normal, adding mass to her cheeks, giving them the flush of health (and some work on the eyes was required too), and her bustle, giving her hips back, and her ball. For this last one I sliced it almost-but-not-quite in twain using an x-acto blade, rocking it back and forth, back and forth. Then with same blade I pried it open so there was a large empty wedge atop, and then I filled that back in with greenstuff. Thus, round again. She also had what I thought was too much hair flowing over the top of her gold band. It just didn't make sense to me and I couldn't get over it. She might pull a lock out as a fashion choice but there is no way either accidentally or intentionally that half her hair would be hanging outside the band. So I carved away and resculpted the hair and band on that side.

This is a good example of the difference between pleasing the judges and pleasing oneself. In some ways painting old figures has freed me up and I'm looser, not as picky about certain things I would spend more time on if it was a commission or for a contest. On the other hand, there are things like this lock of hair that if I was painting if for someone else I would not think twice about, but when it's my figure I'll go all out no matter the cost. With no before-and-after shots, who would know I did it if I didn't tell you? Perhaps only me, but in the end I'm still the hardest to please.

On the painting side I also had a tough standard I wanted to achieve on the blue robes. I don't know why, but I've never seen a cold blue or cold purple in a miniatures paint. The closest I have is Vellejo Ultramarine, but it's a far cry from a tube ultramarine. So I broke out the tube paint. From there I can't recall the steps exactly, but there were some blue and purplish washes and back-and-forth to get the final result.

The gold was done in my new style of underpainting strong yellow and then painting my brightest, gold over, P3 Solid Gold (stirred well, not shaken). Then darker golds shading, brown ink washes and yellow glazes, and finally a few Mithril Silver highlights  (I seem to recall for this particular figure I just liked the gold result early on, though, and there wasn't too much beyond a basic shading and highlighting). The ball was Mithril silver over white and I decided to just go with that way.

The flesh is mostly P3, I think, mostly Midlund Flesh over a bit darker base, then Rynn Flesh highlights, and then old Citadel Elf Flesh or Bleached Bone (can't remember which but it's way lighter than the later incarnations of these).

As I put up the pics here I see one thing I think I will go back and add, some black lining on the eye on her breast and a few other places on the gold dress lining.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Grenadier Fire Elemental


Today I have an oldy for you, and proof I haven't forgotten about the project that inspired this blog, painting my old school D&D figures.




This is a Grenadier Fire Elemental from the Wizzards and Lizzards W32 Elementals blister pack, from before 1977.

It one languished for four years or more unfinished close beside the vampire and Nurgle herald shown recently. The reason is I did something stupid priming it, and under-primed it dark gray before lightly priming it white. In order to make flame successful like this it has to be white, white white all the way through. I knew this, and had plenty of experience painting flames. I must have been thinking I wouldn't do the more contemporary and convincing way to paint flames shown here, with the lightest on the inside and the darkest reds at the tips of the flames, but I would do it old school. But when I went to paint it I decided to do it this way after all, and by the time I realized I needed to have primed it white with several more coats I was already well into it. It cost me literally hours of frustration to go back and try to get the crevices white enough after the midtones were already done. I eventually solved it with thick modeling paste made of marble dust and binder, which is super opaque white. But had I just primed it white it probably wouldn't have taken more than two or three hours total. D&D figures were supposed to be the free and easy ones I painted to relax with!


Painting flames is really satisfying in the end, and fun during too if I make sure to prime fully white. Flames can be a crowd-pleaser too.

One thing I really like about this figure are the tiny little flames I made from green stuff (actually, brown stuff) that blend the figure into the environment. That was time well-spent at least.

For those interested in my D&D figures, an update here that I am in this enormous years-spanning project where I focus on one task like basing, mold lines, assembly, etc, for weeks at a time, and I over the past few years I've primed several hundred D&D figures waiting to be painted, and there are several hundred more in earlier prep stages. Meanwhile, though, on the assembly line these days is mostly Oldhammer and historical figures. It's hard to even find the time to post just the finished ones, but I might start posting some of my workbench stuff to help motivate myself, maybe more on a Twitter feed than here. Does anyone here have a twitter feed they use for posting miniatures, especially WIP shots?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Talisman: Sorceress and Barbarian

I doubt that many of my readers will need an introduction to Talisman: The Magical Quest Game, a classic that has weathered the test of time over twenty-four years and four editions, and is rumored to be getting a fifth for the twenty-fifth anniversary.

I have fond memories of this game, having owned the 2nd edition since my youth and having also played a fair number of 3rd edition games. There is some elusive quality inherent more in the illustrations and presentation than the actual game experience that has captured my imagination all these years, and driven me to tinker, over the course of the decade and more, on a design of a game that mechanically bears no resemblance mechanically to Talisman but attempts to deliver on the sweet promise that the game seemed to make to me all those years ago.

Hopefully more on that later, but in the meantime I'll just note that that is mainly the purpose I intend to put these figures to, more than playing actual games of Talisman with them (though I am also half-heatedly wearing down the resistance of those around me to consent to a a game or two of Talisman itself as well).

On to a few words about the figures. These are all sculpted by Aly Morrison, best known as the Marauder Miniatures principal, after illustrations by Gary Chalk. I'm unabashed in my enthusiasm for both. It's interesting to have the opportunity in the later editions to compare the experience with Gary Chalk to without. I was actually surprised at the time, back when I played the 3rd edition as a teenager, that I enjoyed it as much as I did, as I might otherwise be telling you now that Gary Chalk illustrations represent some 90% or more of what Talisman "is" to me. Instead, I know that's not entirely true, but still these illustrations, and the character illustrations in particular, made and make a huge impact on me and my "fantasy ideal," or whatever I should call it.

I should be able to roll a good few blog posts out now, and let's start with the first two I painted, the sorceress and the barbarian.









A few notes about the painting. I used some black and brown stippling on the sorceress to capture a bit of the pen and ink feel of the illustration as well as the rough quality of the dress and paper on the staff. The minimal base texture is watered down concrete patch and it was painted quite light and then a heavy wash of ink and matte medium. Believe it or not, on both of these figures the nose was at least fully twice as big as shown here before I carved them down with an exacto knife to better match the figures. I actually like big noses but on both of these they were grotesque-level big and it was hurting my ability to see the card illustration in the figure. The barbarian still has an enormous nose even after the major nose-job operation! Last note, the gold on the barbarian's sword is a new style for me. I painted it very, very bright yellow over white before painting P3 "Sold Gold" (the brightest of the golds they make), and then I put a brown wash for depth and yellow glazes for even stronger color. I am really, really happy with the result and have used it on a few other figures since. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know about them!

I'd also appreciate feedback on the size of the pictures I'm sharing. I'm showing the figures many times magnified. Just right or too big?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Early Years Oldhammer Figures


I took some pictures of some of my early figures recently and thought it might be fun to put them up here. I painted these between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, with the chaos thug, monk and dwarf with crossbow being done earlier and the others later
















Top to bottom these are:
Citadel Chaos Thug, Perry Brothers
Citadel Dwarf, Perry Brothers
Marauder Dwarf MM10-DW18, Aly Morrrison
Metal Magic Monk, Josef Ochmann
Heartbreaker Dwarf, Kev Adams
Heartbreaker Goblin, Kev Adams


The chaos thug has a base texture made with a toxic green airplane putty, proving he's among the earliest works I still have.

All of these but the monk have at least one bright primary color, and some have more. I remember feeling pressure to put all the primaries plus green on every figure, as if the Eavy Metal painters were over my shoulder whispering, "needs more red, eh wot."  My memory is of part of me fighting that urge, but it winning most of the time. The monk was an unusual departure where I had the option of red pouch and perhaps I resisted successfully there. The way I got a bright red in the first years was to mix thick fluorescent red from the art store with my Citadel red and the dwarfs ' crossbow and hammer are good examples. Later I used red ink, as demonstrated in the goblin.

The pointing dwarf and the goblin with red shield are examples of me deliberately attempting to control the palette as I improved. Note the dwarf has just one strong primary, blue, and the other colors are accents, and there are a lot of various neutral colors from brown to tan to a dirty green (on the wristband). For the goblin, note the blue bag is muted with black so as not to compete with the (complementary) strong red and green, and his belt and shoes are are also dull. The green shoulder armor is the only extant example of a green metallic paint sold in a poorly sealed pot that dried to a solid mass within a few months of being purchased. By way of comparison I still have a few perfectly fine Citadel paints from this era.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Reaper Vampire, Matthias the Twisted


I bought this figure with some other Reaper figures with intent to sell them, over a decade ago when I first started selling my painted figures and taking commissions. I did two or three others first and by that time had generated enough interest to keep the commissions coming in, and quickly found people were willing to pay something more reasonable for exactly the figure they wanted painted. I actually bought two of this same sculpt, though, one for me as I liked it so much. I started this one to sell and was off to a good start, but never got back to it. Now that I finally finished it it can be the one I keep for myself.



This is Reaper Dark Heaven 02867: Matthias the Twisted. My hat off to Bobby Jackson on this one, it's one of my favorites from him. That scary, hideous face is awesome as are his knock-kneed gait and his little rat friends. A classic vampire of the nosferatu ilk, or "necrarch," in Warhammer Vampire Counts lore.

I really took my time with this figure back then and it's up to my "competition standard." When coming back to finish it off I mainly had to just decide not to do a few bells and whistles I had originally intended like freehand on the red fringe, and do the metals, which were originally going to be NMM. I've always like metallic better for my own figures, but it only took painting a few figures for competitions and for cash to have the preference for NMM (at the time) show clearly. I take pleasure in the distressed ragged bottom of the cloak, the little green gem, the eyes, and the shading of his fingernails.

He is the leader of a Mordheim undead warband, BTW, and his minions are coming up soon. Three ghouls and two giant black dogs are already done and awaiting varnishing.