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From the painting desk #32 – Captain, my captain

May 20, 2015

This year’s 11th miniature is a pirate from Black Scorpion. He’s actually the reason for my huge surge of interest for pirates. Once I saw him at the Black Scorpion stand at Salute, I just had to buy the pack and the rest is (very current) history. Seriously, that pose has to be one of the coolest I’ve ever seen, and the miniature all in all is everything I expect from a Pirates of the Caribbean inspired sea dog. He’ll definitely be the captain of my pirate crew.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I painted his coat a bright red but made the white detailing a bit grimy – he is a pirate after all! I think he’s also the first resin miniature I’ve ever painted. The quality was mainly good, although there was a strange deformity on his right hand. I fixed it somewhat by disguising part of it as a ring. The basing represents a sandy fantasy-Caribbean beach and fits in with the previous pirate.

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More ship building

May 18, 2015

I spent the best part of last week at our summer house. While I was mainly there working on my dissertation, I couldn’t help but bring my ship with me for some extra work. The project is progressing nicely, and here are the latest updates:

I added planking to the second, larger crow’s nest and added a rope band made out of coarse string around it. While the rope looks nice, it mainly came about simply because making a band around an inverted cone shaped object out of anything else was far too tricky.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The poop deck is almost finished. I added planking to the blank inside of the aft railing (or whatever it’s called). It took some extra work cutting it into shape, but I think it paid off. I added a swallow decoration above the door from my girlfriend’s broken earring, and decorated the door itself with a plastic shield boss from an old WHFB Empire set. I think it will get a small knocker to finish it off. I messed up a little bit while cutting up the door, so I’ll probably add hinges to the right edge to cover those ragged parts. The wall will also get a lantern from another WHFB set. In the picture you can also see the lovely plank you can extend from the side of the ship. I’ll definitely leave that in place for those Hollywood swashbuckling moments.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I’ve been putting a fair bit of thought into the painting of the ship, as messing everything up with a failed paintjob after all the work done so far would be heartbreaking. After a lot of consideration I settled on dark brown spray paint, intended for use on metal roofing. It sticks well, covers something wonderful, takes paint and is suitably matte. The decking will probably get a hand-painted lighter, warmer shade and everything will of course be drybrushed later on. Something I was a little concerned about was how well the painting would tie the different elements together. After spraying it all, I could breathe a sigh of relief as it came out as intended, really making the different parts into a whole. At a glance you can’t easily tell the difference between the original plastic ship elements and the coffee stirrer bits.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I’m still happy with the project and its progress – and more than a little surprised that it hasn’t come grinding to a halt yet. Watching Black Sails and painting pirates helps, too!

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Ship building

May 10, 2015

Work on the ship (see previous post) is progressing at a steady rate, or actually much quicker than I’d anticipated. I’m really starting to get the hang of cutting up coffee stirrers (which I picked up a box of 1000 for 4 EUR) and gluing them in place. I rather feel like a teeny tiny carpenter.

Anyway, here are some pictures of my progress at the moment, with explanations. The picture quality is somewhat poorer than usual, as these are mostly quick progress shots. There is still a lot of work to be done, dremeling, detailing and such.

First up is one of the two crow’s nests. While the original was nice and big, it posed a serious risk of miniatures taking a major fall down to the deck. I remedied this with some stick planking and card. It still needs smoothing over as it was my first attempt, but I think it’s still nice enough and I believe painting will hide the more obvious rough spots. It can easily accommodate a few minis and they’re quite safe from falling.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Next up is the poop deck (which always makes me snigger, I’m twelve after all). It was originally nice enough, but there was a lot of blank, untextured plastic that I wanted to hide, and the doorway was scaled for larger action figures.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I covered the doorway area with plasticard and built a new wall out of coffee stirrers. I then chopped up a Playmobil basket for a door and built a doorframe around it. I liked the steps, but added more detail in the form of planking. As this will be a gaming piece, I added little stands made from plasticard and stirrers halfway between each staircase so that models can be placed there to indicate they’re on the stairs.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I added planking to the insides of the ship’s railing as well. It was somewhat awful work but looks decent.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

For some reason, one side of the cabin’s outside wall – or rather its roof – was left untextured. Of course, I could’ve left it as it was, but there was a nice fish scale pattern to the roof and all…so of course I had to fix it using a lot of small paper discs from a hole puncher. Silly work, but I think the end result was well worth it. This was the sort of crazy stuff that’s always had me going “who does that?” before.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

There was also an oversized balustrade on the edge of the poop deck. I cut this down to a more suitable size.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

So there’s my progress at the moment. A lot of the hardest and most intricate work is actually already done. There’s still plenty to do, but I’m really motivated at the moment. I love working on this, and the visible progress really helps. I’m also genuinely surprised about how good it actually looks, as my hopes really weren’t that high. It will receive a dark brown paint job, that will hopefully work wonders in hiding some of the gaps between wood and plastic and so on.

Comments are welcome! Next up is the inside of the poop deck as well as cabin wall and door detailing. Actually looking forward to it!

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Pirate madness

May 7, 2015

Salute 2015 sparked a huge interest in pirates in me. I was thinking of keeping it very low key – you know, a few packs of miniatures from Black Scorpion and Foundry, some pieces of special terrain, nothing major.

As these things tend to develop, yesterday evening I found myself in possession of a huge, 80 cm long pirate ship. It’s the Black Pearl from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, it comes from this playset and I got it for 30 EUR off a Finnish auction site. As I said and the pictures show, it’s a massive model, and I’ve no idea how I’m going to store it, but for now I won’t worry about it. Instead I’ll focus on the positive!

There’s so much to love about the ship from a miniature gaming point of view. It’s magnificently scaled for 28mm, it’s nicely textured and has easy access to the ship’s interior. On top of that there are great toy functions such as a small soundboard and even flashing red led lights for the cannon. A piece of the ship’s prow also comes off, which will be a good way to show damage or to depict a beached ship.

The ship will give me plenty of work. While the scale is good for the most part, it’s still intended for large action figures, so I’ll need to make doorways smaller, give the ship a smaller rudder, replace the cannon and so on. Some of the less detailed pieces will need a going over with coffee stirrers and some toy mechanisms will need to be removed. I don’t doubt that it will be a major task, but I’m still looking forward to it! To make my task easier, I’m going for a functional gaming piece and as said, I’m trying to keep many of the toy functions intact. This means I won’t go over the model, puttying over and sculpting every join and gap, nor will I add authentic rigging or anything like that. I know myself, and I want to actually finish this one!

I’ll post updates on the blog as the thing progresses. While I don’t usually show a lot of work in progress stuff, I think that sharing in this case will be good for keeping up the morale (and the stamina). Hopefully this will also provide you with inspiration and entertainment! It goes without saying that feedback, ideas and experiences are warmly welcomed.

I added some quick pics below just to give you an idea of the whole, sorry for the rubbish lighting and setup! All the minis are 28mm.

The ship in all its glory

The ship in all its glory

The rudder has been removed and the railing will be cut down

The rudder has been removed and the railing will be cut down

The crow's nest is large enough for several minis

The crow’s nest is large enough for several minis

Plenty of deck space, the discs will be removed

Plenty of deck space, the discs will be removed

 

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From the painting desk #31 – Cutthroats

May 4, 2015

A couple of newly painted miniatures, both nicely fitting under the “cutthroat” definition. They bring this year’s painted miniatures count to 10.

The first one is a pirate by Foundry.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

 

A lovely, characterful mini that (unsurprisingly for Foundry) suffered from poor casting. The barrel of his gun was so misaligned that I replaced it with a plastic one from a GW set. I didn’t bother to smooth the join over with putty, but I think it looks decent. This pirate heralds one of my two new projects inspired by Salute, so expect plenty more pirates in the future. It’s really fun to paint these bright colours!

The second mini here is a half-orc assassin type from Reaper’s Bones II set. We bought the entire set for our regular RPG crew, and spent yesterday painting models for our upcoming characters.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Anyone who knows me (or has read this blog a bit) should know that I hate cleaning up models. The Bones material is quite nice, but can be insanely awful to clean up as you can’t really scrape it. As we were making minis less for viewing and more to be used as playing pieces, I simply left some sections uncleaned. Yes, it looks awful yet it doesn’t look to bad at the same time – the worst parts are luckily hidden by the photo angle. This was a familiar palette with browns and greys, and I think he turned out very decent. We had a great time painting, and I’ll be sure to share the rest of the minis once they’re finished.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be painting again. Feels like coming home after a while.

 

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Mini projects #3 – Finished!

April 30, 2015

Over two months ago in February I posted on this mini project I had, painting up six miniatures for the Frothers Salute 2015 game – Return to Castle Frotherheim. I’m happy to announce that while I haven’t much reported on them, they did eventually get finished the night before my flight to London. With Salute now behind me, this post is a look at how they turned out. They saw action in the Frothers game, got plenty of nice words and the goblins, bought ages ago in Orcs Nest returned to London, finally painted. I also painted a few old treasure piles from Mithril’s old (1988) Smaug set, but those are all but impossible to photograph without them looking absolutely rubbish.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

It was fun putting in more effort than usual, and I hope the models show it! The bugbear was a bit of a rush job, being the last one finished. All in all I’m still very happy with them. Painting a mini project like this really suits me, as there isn’t an overwhelming amount of miniatures to paint or a ton of scenery to construct. It was also fun painting stuff using different colours compared to my usual palette – the red skin on the hobgoblin type is a good example. By the way, this was the first time I ever painted while watching television. I always figured that it would be impossible, but it turns out that competitive games of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and episodes of American Horror Story provide a good backdrop to painting, especially when blocking in initial base colours. These models bring my painting count this year to a total of eight!

As for the other mini project, that has been pushed further along into the future. Fear not, I’ll talk about it eventually.

Oh, and Salute 2015 really re-lit the hobbyist in me, so expect the blog to be updated a little more often in the future.

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From the painting desk #30 – Goblin

February 10, 2015

This is my 300th post as well as #30 in the From the painting desk series. It’s somehow appropriate that the mini in question is not some fancy-pants resin wonder, but rather a simple, humble goblin that I bought ages ago from Orc’s nest. The miniature itself is from 1995, so it’s a youthful 20. It’s part of my ongoing mini project, which you can check out in my two previous posts.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I’m really happy with the mini. It’s a very clean sculpt and was a wonder to paint. I spent more time on layering than usual (even if the photo doesn’t quite show it). The self-sculpted flagstone base turned out fine too, and I added some flock to represent moss creeping in between the stones.

I don’t know how many goblins I’ve painted green during my WHFB days, so painting one yellow was a welcome change. He turned out looking suitably nasty and dirty in that good old D&D goblin way. I look forward to finishing the rest of the band of misfits.

 

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