Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 musings, and some painted miniatures

First up we have the finished Slayer Lord from last week's post:

I painted a test figure this evening for a High Elf commission. The color scheme is a sea-foam green and deep blue (GW Scaly Green and Regal Blue, each highlighted with white).

Well, 2011 is nearly over. Time has really flown by. It seems like just yesterday I started painting miniatures. In fact, it was about this time, 10 years ago, that I took up this hobby. I remember stumbling upon it at a local game store where I bought my Magic: the Gathering cards. I never thought something like this would ever end up making such a difference in my life. Reflecting back on everything that I have gained from these little metal toy soldiers really shocks me. It has made me a better painter. I learned a wealth of information about commissions and promoting myself as an artist. I have sustained a living doing something that I love. I have met countless incredible people in the gaming community. I could go on and on... but the bottom line is that all of this was possible with this hobby that I discovered by chance.

Anyway, I digress. I've been reflecting on everything that I have done in the past 350-odd days, and I decided to make a list of some of the accomplishments. In 2011 I:

-Graduated from college, with a 3.97 gpa (if I recall correctly I got one A- and one B+).
-I worked my ass off while going to college (15-18 credit hours per semester), painting miniatures to pay the bills, and I have remained debt-free.
-In April I drove to Sedona and painted landscapes for 3 days. I got some good paintings out of the trip and a load of great photos (my computer crashed and I lost them, however). I absolutely love landscape painting, and this trip among some other things really helped guide my oil paintings in the right direction.
-In June, I drove to Wisconsin for a wood kiln firing/interview for a pottery apprenticeship, and it was one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done. Between this trip and great ceramics professors at ASU I developed a really strong passion for pottery. I honestly can't make up my mind on what I want to go to grad school for... painting or ceramics.
-I decided that I am going to go to grad school. I don't have very much money but I won't let the cost of tuition hinder me. I'll just have to work a little harder and get some loans. The deadlines are in January, I believe, so I need to get on top of the application process right away.
-I made a website for my oil painting. ( and I have taken that a lot more seriously.
-I became part of a brand new studio/gallery in Tempe, and I have started selling my oil paintings.
-Most of all, I have come to realize what my dreams are. Fine art (both oil painting and ceramics) is were I am headed. I want to teach college, and I need to go to grad school for that.

And as for miniatures, there was a thread on the CMON forums for keeping track of the year's painted figures. I think it's a great idea and I'm glad I posted in the thread. Here's the long list, copied from the forum:

6 Warmachine Cygnar Rangers
1 Cygnar tiny jack.
7 Warmachine Cygnar something or others. Gun mages? Not sure.
1 Space Wolves dreadnought.
1 Space Wolf Scout (test model for army)
1 FW Bloodthirster (Jan 23)

(UPDATE 7/17/11)
1 warmachine cygnar large jack
5 misc warmachine figs (don't know the names)
165 Skaven clanrats
15 gutter runners
2 warp lightning cannons
5 warlock engineers
1 grey seer
4 Skaven weapon teams
1 BA death company dread
1 BA librarian dread
5 BA terminators
1 sanguinary priest
5 ultramarines
10 night goblins
5 grey knight terminators
10 grey knight purifiers

(UPDATE 7/20/11)
1 forge world lord of change

(UPDATE 7/22/11)
1 Crowe
1 Draigo
1 GK Razorback
1 GK Dreadnought

(UPDATE 7/27/2011)
1 GK Dreadknight

(UPDATE 8/12/2011)
90 Skaven Clanrats
10 Giant Rats
2 Packmasters
2 Warpfire Throwers

(UPDATE 8/15/2011)
10 Blood Angels Death Company (with both sets of backpacks, magnetized)

(UPDATE 8/16/2011)
1 Grey Knight with Psycannon (Test figure for my personal army)

(UPDATE 10/12/2011)
5 LOTR army of the dead
1 Infinity Wolf guy
6 Misc Infinity figures
15 Dwarf Slayers
23 Dwarf Ironbreakers
1 Dwarf Ranger
1 Dwarf Hammerer

(UPDATE 10/28/2011)
6 Chaos Dwarfs (Greebo)
6 Hobgoblins
2 Bull Centaurs
3 Blood Bowl Tokens
1 Warmachine/Hordes Skorne Titan Bronzeback

(UPDATE 12/15/2011)
6 Warmachine/Hordes Skorne Cataphract Cetrati
1 more Warmachine/Hordes Skorne Titan
7 Misc. Skorne troops
20 Dwarf Longbeards
1 Blood Angels Sanguinor

(UPDATE 12/22/2011)
1 Dwarf Slayer Lord
1 High Elf Phoenix Guard test figure

According to my calculator that's 481 figures. All of those, besides the Skaven, were level 3 and competition quality paintjobs. I've still got another week left too. Maybe I'll get that unit of Dwarf Rangers done.

Hope everyone had a great 2011. See you next year,


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dwarf Longbeards and a WIP Slayer Lord

I finished the regiment of Long Beards today. I really like these old models. They're so much better than the new Dwarf range.

I started working on a Slayer character. It's nice to spend a little extra time on something. Here it is so far:

Next up on the chopping block: Dwarf Rangers, a Dark Elf Dragon, more Grey Knights (a red/black color scheme), and I've been working on a step-by-step tutorial of a gaming-quality Empire soldier. I'm not sure when I'll finish that though.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Finished the Sanguinor this evening. It was a cool model to paint. Here's a couple of the color recipes:

Gold: VMC Brass, Devlan Mud, Brass, Shining Gold, Shining+Mithril, Mithril Silver, glaze of Yellow Ink + Gryphonne Sepia + Water

White: 50/50 Astronomican Grey/P3 Morrow White, Shadow Grey shading, 50/50 AG/MW, 25/75 AG/MW, MW

Sword: 50/50 Hawk Turquoise/Space Wolf Grey, highlight SWG, highlight Morrow White, shade Hawk Turquoise, shade Scaly Green.

The red recipe is the same as the Bronzeback Titan from a few weeks ago.

I'm about half way through the unit of Dwarf Longbeards. I hope to get some pictures of those up soon.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Some Finished Dwarfs

It's been a busy month. The Blood Bowl team arrived safely and I got a really nice letter from the customer. I'll be making a testimonials section on this blog as soon as I can figure out how.

I've also been busy with oil painting. I have a new website and blog for my art. If you are interested, please check them out!

The Skorne commission is done, though I forgot to take photos of it. I did, however, take some photos of the finished Slayer and Ironbreaker units. The Ironbreakers really came together after their shields were glued on. They arrived safe and sound last week at their new home in Idaho.

Up next: Longbeards, Rangers, a couple dwarf heroes, The Sanguinor, and others!

Until next time...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chaos Dwarfs finished, and a Skorne figure

Got some final photos of the Blood Bowl team by Greebo miniatures. Not the best photos as I still don't have a good lighting setup.

The Blood Bowl team is now on its way to France. God speed!

I was pretty impressed with the sculpting quality of the Skorne Titan Bronzeback. The casting quality was pretty good too. Some gap-filling was needed but nothing too complex. This is one figure I wouldn't mind painting again, but to a very high showcase quality. Maybe one day when I have the time...

If anyone is curious about the colors used on the skin (a new recipe I came up with), here's the recipe I used:

(P3 and GW)
-Thornwood Green
-Devlan Mud (x2)
-Thornwood Green
-Bastion Grey
-Cryx Bane Highlight
-Cryx Bane Highlight + Trollblood Highlight
-Very thin glaze of Gryphonne Sepia Wash all over
-Ogryn Flesh Wash in select areas

Up next are the Dwarf Slayers and Ironbreakers. I am putting blue Celtic designs on the Slayers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quick way to sculpt cracked dirt / desert bases

On a recent Blood Bowl commission I was asked to make cracked dirt / desert bases. I came up with a pretty quick and effective way of sculpting them. All you need is some standard Milliput epoxy putty, a base (warmachine in this case) a needle and a GW sculpting tool.

Begin by covering the slot with a piece of card and some super glue. Mix up some putty and press it down on to your work surface. Use a sheet of paper or something you don't mind throwing away afterwards.

Now to start applying the putty. Using the "spoon" end of the sculpting tool, scoop small clumps of putty and smear it onto the base. The more clumps, the better. Don't use any water or lubricant. Milliput has a tendency to crumble when your sculpting tool is too dry, and we want to capitalize on this.

I like to start in the center and work my way towards the edge. In addition to making these clumps, I like to lightly drag the sculpting tool over the surface in some areas. This creates more cracking and texture. If you do this right you won't need to add any sand or other textures to the base.

You can see some of the base showing through on the right hand side. That's fine. It will help create more depth if there are a few spots like that. When the base is fully covered, add a few extra clumps here and there.

Now that the base is covered with clumps and texture, we want to smooth some of them. Clean off your sculpting tool with a paper towel (you will probably find that there has been some buildup of putty). With a little bit of water on your tool, gently smooth down some of the lumps and high points. Use a side-to-side or circular motion. We want to keep those cracks between each clump, so be careful not to press down too hard with the tool.

Smoothing complete. Now take a needle tool and trace some of the cracks between the clumps. Don't overdo it. In this case, less is more. Follow the pre-existing cracks, improvise a little, and you can create a really natural effect. Once you have finished adding extra cracks, take the GW sculpting tool again and press down on some of the clumps near the edges, to help close in some of the cracks. This helps create some irregularity in the width of the cracks. You don't want them all the same thickness.

Finished base! Paint it in your favorite desert color scheme and add some light brown/dead static grass.

In case you are curious, the color recipe for the finished base here is:

Calthan Brown, Graveyard Earth, Bubonic Brown, Menoth White Base, Gryphonne Sepia Wash, Menoth White Base. GW dead static grass.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Infinity figures

Some of my basic Tabletop Quality figures.