Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Dirt Stains, the revenge


Ok, here is a second attempt at mutation:

And with his acolyte:
Quite pleased with the dust this time. As "dust" is what the stains are meant to represent. It's absolutely impressive what can be done with those old zombie heads, from GW... I have painted about 120-150 of them, but always very VERY V-E-R-Y fast, and quite frankly, badly. I only now realise their potential.

On the "poor-guy-who-have-been-horribly-mutated" front, tough, I think I erred a bit on this one... he have a crazy look on his face that was not planned at all, but that developed during painting... I tend to do that... I develop mood as I go, instead of planning... I guess it makes me an "instinctive" painter...

All said, I really like his face...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Nice Dirt

Hello again.

Sorry for historical fans... it seems that I'm in a Sci-Fi mood these last few days...

Anyway, yesterday's post, and a reply that was posted (thanks Mathieu, you nailed it) about dirtying up miniatures made me think about this mini, made a few months ago:

This guy is a wargames factory trooper made using the gas mask instead of the nazi head (no, it is not a mutated head, like I saw on some website... there are straps in the hair to hold the mask!). I sculpted some kind of bag, a grenade and fixed the collar and the neck, which is not a very good fit on these miniatures.

I wanted to picture a trooper who had spent quite a few days in the trenches. Think WWI or Stalingrad...

The point here is that in this particular case, I had some objective in mind when I started to muck it up. So I had a good Idea what kind of stains I wanted where.

This is the (or The) mistake I made when I started stain my mutie. I did not have any idea what happened to him. Why was he dirty? what kind of stain should be where? (ok... not always a good idea to ask that...) So instead, I went for a general flopping of diluted paint everywhere... which make absolutely no sense when we look at it, because no sense was intended... if you get my meaning...

The next one should be better.

And, no... still no bases... I usually don't base until I know what kind of game and what kind of army they will be used for...

Monday, 14 November 2011

Dirty Painting

I just completed it. My mutie.

Not wholly satisfied, as I did not get the look and mood I was after perfectly right.

Here he is, and again, this is not at all a masterpiece, but one of a grunt in an army.

At the base, I did not want a nurgle mutant, so no "diseased" look. I did a clean-ish skin tone relatively close to pink, mostly to inspire... well, "pity" is too strong a word, but you might get my point. This is a poor guy who have been horribly mutated, not a blood thirsty mutant from the wasteland... Then, to honor the ork origin of this mini, I chose a green to dress it up. As a bonus, green complement red on the colour wheel, so it is a good companion to the pinkish skin. Then, I chose my favourite orangy brown for leather, and would use the same colour for the rust of metal parts, thus tying up two parts of the mini. The blue simply came as a complement of the orange. I intend to keep the skin, the green, and the rusty-brown constant through the army, but I will vary the remaining colour so that they don't seem like they wear uniforms.

The result was pretty clean, in the sense of "not dirty looking". So I tried to muck it up... and this is what I think I could have done better... I am not sure the stains and dirt are believable. The figure certainly look stained and dirty, but it's the paint job that look dirty and stained, not the mutant!

I tried to use differently coloured washes to stain the mini, as well as a drybrush of the beige brown I will use on the base... I am open to suggestions as to what went wrong with the staining...

On the sculpting side, tough, i'm quite pleased. It's hard to tell now what is grey plastic and what is green-stuff, so I consider that a success, at least in the green-stuff mastering sense.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Simple Sculpting

It's been veeeery quiet on the hobby front during the last weeks. Lack of time, in general. Bad timing for a new blog, but can't be helped...

I have been pushed by a friend (Ok, pushed is a bit hard... motivated...) and his new army to build one myself (yes, another project...). He is putting together a chaos army for warhammer 40k. I already have a 40k army, but, as I said, it's not playing the game that motivates me, it's building an army!

So I've toyed around for the last week with different ideas, but found each army to have Huuuuuge drawbacks (modeling-wise... I'm not even getting into the gaming aspect): Orks and their general goofiness, Eldars and their power rangers aspect warriors, imperial guard with their 700$ minimum starting force... space marines with their "I already own one" reality...

Then, I remembered a few things: First, I can build stuff... second, I have more than a few sprues of plastic bits, mostly orks, fantasy zombis, a few skavens, some chaos... And one prototype:

The idea here was to build a poor guy who's right side have completely mutated while his left remained more-or-less "stable". The metal plate in the back was turned into a "something" outlet with tubing still attached, and paint-wise will be complemented by the metal plate on his head. The pictures don't really make this detail stand out, but by chopping off most of the width of the original ork neck, I obtained a long "giraffe-y" neck. The only obvious error I did was to underestimate the ork posture. I did try (look at the right ankle) to make him stand a bit more upright, but the end result really is far too leaning foward to my taste. He should be falling on his face... well... maybe he is...

All said, I built this guy relatively rapidly, it is meant not as a masterpiece, but as one of the grunts that will make this army, so, building time is an issue... as a bonus, in this project, I will use green-stuff a lot, which will train my skills with it, something I have not done for quite a while.

I will then try to build a complete mutants force. very "mad max" like for the vehicles, which can be represented perfectly in game with orks. As I will probably use the Orks army book to play these, I will use mostly ork bodies (and as it happens, I own many-MANY orks that I don't want to paint as orks, so...), so they will be easily identifiable for anybody. The main positive point in this idea is to have an original army. Not original as in "nobody-ever-did-anything-like-it" but at least original as in "cannot-be-obtained-off-the-shelf".

Painting it is my next goal...

Friday, 21 October 2011

The Last of the Velites

And, no, I'm not talking about a possible Tom Cruise roller coaster with a lots of lessons about human values...

I simply finished (still no bases... ) the last elements of psiloi needed to field a DBA polybian roman army; 2.

here they are:

I am still painting the last remaining stock of my miniatures that are primed with the mould lines, so you'll have to forgive these said lines, again.

I can't help but notice that I was a bit more sloppy this time... I'm a bit disapointed, but I think they are still nice.

Thanks again for all the comments left, here and on TMP.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Hello again...

Hectic week... very few time spent painting. Very few... as in "none".

But, as this is still a new blog, I have a huge stockpile of material I can post about, and here it goes; a few 28mm fantasy (old metal empire soldiers from Games-Workshop) without a base... yes yes, I know:

The thing I wanted to show here is that there are, in my opinion, other methods of producing nice miniatures than obeying the rules of the wheel of colours. Where the wheel will help you pick opposing colours for a maximum, yet harmonious contrast effect, the same can be achieved by using two methods:

One: the contrast effect is achieved by opposing two colours with very different brilliance, or brightness. Here, we have a rich red, contrasted with a bright yellow. The eye perceive the red as dark, when opposed to the yellow.

Two: The harmony is created by using a simple trick: linking the colours by a similar tone during shading and/or highlight. In this example, The yellow is shadowed by adding a darker orangy-brown to it. This orangy-brown is then used to basecoat all the leather parts of the miniatures, and then a dark reddish brown is used to shade the leather. This reddish brown is also used to shade the red, and is also present in the darkest recesses of the skin. This way, all the colours seems to "fit" well one with another.

Sorry to all the "formal artists" out there who may know these thing as very common knowledge... But I was quite proud to figure all that by myself, and I think it may be useful to many peoples!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thin coats

I learnt two things this morning, or maybe I should say that I remembered two things this morning:

First: I drink too much coffee... Makes it harder to paint, because of light shaking, and light headaches that comes when caffeine effect wears off; coffee hangover. My favourite time for painting is during my lunch break at work at my office, in front of a huge window. On an overcast day, like today, it is as close as to a perfect environment that I can think of. Unfortunately, my favourite time to drink coffee is during the morning, at work... especially on dull overcast days... like today. less coffee next time.

Second: The thinner the paint you use, the "messier" you can be. It can be seen on these minis, freshly painted 20 minutes ago:

I usually paint my minis using the "dressing-up" order (paint like you dress: skin, first layer of clothing, next layer... up to details like straps). So in this case, I painted the flesh like I did on the Velites, using layering of paint thin enough to prevent a texture build up, but thick enough to be opaque. When I started on the brown tunics, I diluted my paint up to water consistency, giving a very VERY transparent result. I did that on a whim... don't ask why.

The way to use paint as thin as this is to paint many, MANY, M-A-N-Y coats one over the other, depositing only a very small amount of pigments every layer. The only important thing is that you do not flood the miniature as you would with a wash, but instead pick up a small amount of coloured water on your brush, and paint with it using the layering technique. A very long job you may think... not really: As each coat have very little effect on the whole paint job, you can apply it very roughly at the location where you want it, it does not matter at all if you you slip and accidentally cover a spot you did not want to... as long as you don't accidentally cover the same spot many times! in fact, you DO want to cover lightly different areas of the same spot as that is what will give you a smooth colour transition.

I did know this technique, but I always come back to "short-cuts" like thick paint-layering, drybrushing and dipping. The fact is that this method is not terribly longer than any of the short-cuts! Painting these two Hastati took me less than an hour, and would have taken even less if TMP member "ancientgamer" would not have pointed out to me that moulding lines are very visible on my Velites (thank you, by the way...) and if I did not spend a few minutes removing them. (EDIT: damn... I just saw that I missed some... I conciously left the spears alone, but there are some others that I missed... This is for me the main downside of 1/72 minis)

Try it out.

Lastly, I would like to thank every one who took the time to leave a comment, either here or on TMP. It is very encouraging, motivating, and helpful.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


Here are some bases of WWII Heer Germans I did, for use with "I ain't been shot, mum". They are, again, 1/72.

As 1/72 miniatures seems to be designed with diorama in mind, as opposed to, say 15mm or 28mm, which are sculpted for wargaming, a big proportion of them have poses that does not suit the traditional single basing. Drawing inspiration from many places, like the "flames of war" elaborate diorama bases, I built those:

They are basically soldiers doing what they were sculpted to do. Those who seem to be peeking over/around something, are peeking over/around a bush, those who are taking cover behind something... you get it.

The figures were painted with my old "cheap paint job" approach, that is: blocking basic colors, washing them up (using GW delvan mud), and adding a single highlight where the wash turned out too strong. They look not so bad in pictures, much to my surprise, but they look like nothing more than brown blotches on the gaming table, due to poor contrast. For WWII miniatures, I must admit that "being a brown blotch" probably  fit the historical context, but that does not makes them beautiful miniatures. I am in the process of painting some Russian adversaries for them, and we'll see if I can do better with the technique used with the Velites.

The bases were simple to do, if a little time consuming. I used wood filler to build up the ground around their original bases, and to add more texture to the ground. Before the filler was completely dried, I roughly painted the darkest brown of the soil, using an old brush. This eliminated much of the roughest texture and smoothed the ground to something more realistic. Again, before the dark paint was dry, I wet-brushed a lighter shade of brown over it. The remaining moisture permitted a better blending of the browns, unlike what I would have obtained by dry-brushing. Dry-brushing give a more "dusty" finish that suit more a desert or dry-land base (yes, I am thinking of my new Velites in need of basing).

Home blended flocking was then added, along with bushes made of woodland scenics "clumps". I always use a very mixed up flocking, containing "fine turf", "coarse turf", static grass and colored wood chips (which look a lot like fallen leaves, at that scale). I really don't like uniform ground covers in miniatures. battles rarely took place on golf turf. The wood fence was made of wooden coffee stirrers, cut to shape and painted with many coats of very watered down paint, which soaked into the wood and show the real wood fibers.

There you go! more later.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A beginning

Here it is; the beginning of a new blog. It stars with an experiment.

I buy and paint 1/72 miniatures since 2010. Up to now, these minis received a paint job of about equal quality as their monetary value. Cheap minis, cheap paint job. They were not very well detailed and quite badly moulded anyway, so simple blocking and dip should be enough. There is nothing to gain with a nice paint job, right?

well, wrong:

Paul's bods blog showed me that cheap plastic minis can look as good as any other. My painting experience (more than 15 years... closer to 20 now) then did the rest. I started with the idea that as the details are very shallow on these, the painting must exaggerate them with brutal contrasts. Also, as the surfaces are relatively smooth, they are very unforgiving with thick paint, so thin coats of paint only. They took about an hour to do. Of course, they are not based yet, as I did not decide what they will be used for (DBA, probably).

I am very satisfied of these roman velites.