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.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Heroes for Dungeonquest 'Eavy Metal

Here's the moment of realization for my Dungeonquest project!


Please feel free to repost as long as you link back to this blog. Drop me a note here if you do. I want to spread the love for this game.

And if you have a second please rate it on Coolminiornot.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Herald of Nurgle (Reaper Plague Harbinger)

Here's a bit of an interlude between my Dungeonquest and upcoming Talisman figures and a change of pace from the bright, candy look. If I could be satisfied with a single mode and a single collection I would be a lot saner, but I have to give expression to my grimdark side. :)

I started this figure about ten years ago, then picked it up again about five years ago and got it to about 90%, and then there it sat. Are you like me, with a shameful number of unfinished figures? Recently I've been bearing down on a some of these around the edges of other projects.



This is Werner Klocke figure done for Reaper, Dark Heaven 02804 Plague Harbinger, and you can see he was obviously in a Realm of Chaos mode at the time. The fly emblem on his armor (hard to see, because I didn't call any attention to it, but let it fall back into the muck) dispels any lingering doubt. I think this was before the concept of a chaos herald but he fits the bill pretty nicely.




I really like the palette I achieved on this figure and think it will be a good reference point for other figures. I've spent a lot of thought planning fantasy Nurgle projects and a few years ago I painted a Warmaster Nurgle army, but it was a surprise for me to realize this is the first 28mm Nurgle figure I've painted. I know it was before 1996 when I had seven champions that were among my favorite figures in my collection, but at the time I was too shy to tackle my favorite figures. I work like an assembly line these days prepping many hundreds of figures—washing, basing, mold lines, priming etc—and I just washed and based the tray of RoC figures in which those same seven reside, along with younger compatriots.

Like many a Nurgle paintjob before him, in essence it was a white prime, then black metals, gunmetal and highlights, then washes, washes and washes, and finally edge highlights. Brown, yellow, rust. I don't recall if there is any actual green paint. Black plus yellow is good for Nurgle, I think, and any greens here probably came from that.

This would be a good figure for a chaos warband, either old school Realm of Chaos or whatever people might be playing at the local shops, or "AOS28" or whatever. I've got more Nurgle on the workbench including some Heresy demons to use as plague bearers and some converted Gamezone chaos warriors. I just checked back and it also looks like I might not have shared my Warmaster figures here, it must have been an older blog.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Heroes for Dungeonquest: Ironhand the Mighty, Gladiator

Last one! May I present, Ironhand the Mighty:








This guy painted up fairly quickly as well. Nothing particular to this figure that I haven't spoken about in a previous post. Another great figure, though. Just after I finished him I scored another copy of this figure sans mace. This makes it that much easier for me to justify converting it to be a chaos thug. Anyone know fore sure who sculpted him? Goodwin, right?

Stay tuned for Talisman figures coming up soon!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Heroes for Dungeonquest: Sir Roland the Knight








I painted this figure in one sitting (except for base, done as a group before) in record time, under two hours. The armor has opaque paint mixed with Chainmail metallic, a simple wash and then Mithril Silver highlights. I wanted it to be distinct from Thargrimm. The armor here is cleaner and a lot brighter. The illustration has a slightly different leather and fur color (same color) as the other illustrations (or so it seemed to me in the time) and I adjusted the brown mix accordingly, and think I got it pretty well. The wine colored accents are my own addition to the palette as in the illustration the fringe (what you call it in this case?) is of an indeterminate gray or the same color as the amror, which wouldn't work on the figure.Echoed it in the weapon grip.

Last one is just around the corner!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Heroes for Dungeonquest: Helena the Swift


Today's hero is Helena the Swift.





Tiny hottie by one of the Perry brothers. Believe or not she was on the workbench almost done for over a year with just the shield to do, and I kept putting off the decision of whether to use a classic Citadel shield with hole in the center for the boss, or a shield matching the artwork. I had both. OCD, I know. I wound up going the first route as you can see. The next question was whether to leave the shield plane orange-brown as in the illustrationor add a design. And I strayed from the illustration a second time here, opting for a simple viking design.

The figure was primed gray and then "zenithal" white, but fairly strong on the white. The figure was painted light to dark with the exception of boots and hair. These days I like painting metallics over a light base starting with the lightest metallic color and then using washes.

Here's a little bonus, all the figures before Helena except Vikas. It was late when I took this and somehow I left him off. I'll try to get another group shot of all 12 to end on. That and I want to make an 'eavy Metal style sheet of them! I'm searching for a good background texture to evoke White Dwarf without copying directly.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Heroes for Dungeonquest: Gunnvor Greataxe


The set of Dungeonquest figures I'm painting is complete except for one missing figure, Siegfried Goldenhair, the Barbarian. Does anyone have a spare, by any chance?

In the meantime I painted a substitute, possibly my favorite of the Perry barbarians. Let's call him Gunnvor Greataxe and say he's Siegfried's brother.








Love this sculpt. He's perfect all around. That awesome face! You can put this figure next to any figure from any era.

The skin was darker in the first pass I did as I was going for the deep tan that barbarians like Arnold Schwarzenegger has in the Conan movies. But I lightened it in the end to more abstracted, classic miniatures "bronzed flesh" tones. I used the tried and true Citadel method of dark base, then mixes with the original tones, Bronzed Flesh, Elf Flesh, lighter tones, and then glazes of Chestnut ink. I used the Siegfried Goldenhair illustration as reference for all the characters.


I also made an image of my figure to make a unique character sheet as well.



Just three left to show now. Stay tuned for Helena the Swift, Sir Roland the Knight, and Ironhand the Mighty!