h1

From the painting desk #25 – Kaiju hunting

April 24, 2014

The first mini I’ve finished in a long, long time is a CAV mech, Spitfire, from Reaper Miniatures. My painting skills and patience had rusted a bit, but the end result is still reasonable. White is a pain to paint, and I could have done a better job here, but eventually I decided to just be (somewhat) happy with it and move on to another miniature. And hey, I now have the first painted mini for my Pacific Rim project.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I drew inspiration for the colour scheme from Tacit Ronin, a Mk. I jaeger in Pacific Rim, which can be glimpsed in the film’s introduction sequence:

tacitronin2

with the colour scheme nicely shown in this piece of concept art:

tacitronin

While painting the model wasn’t as fun as it could’ve been, finishing it sure was! The next one is already on my table and well on its way. This time I’m painting my favourite colour, red. I guess painting with your favourite colour is the miniature painter’s comforting chicken soup.

h1

Seaside fun

April 20, 2014

Every single miniatures project I’ve ever worked on has suffered its share of setbacks. Often these are a result of rash actions instead of careful planning. With my Pacific Rim game board, it just so happened that I decided that the table would look nicer drybrushed. The smart guy that I am, I tried a sample piece first, then a small corner of the table – both yielded nice results. I then meticulously started drybrushing a large board with a small drybrush, got bored, took a bigger brush to it, didn’t bother to wipe the paint off well enough and ended up with one end of the game board looking like someone did some very poor drybrushing on it.

Next came the question of what to do. As the table wasn’t painted to begin with, I figured that to try and paint the area wouldn’t work – I would have to paint the rest of the table to match. For a brief moment I thought that I might simply cut of the messy end, after all foam cuts easily. This however felt a bit too much. Suddenly, a wild idea appeared!

I’d been thinking hard about how to build a seaside on the table. After all, Pacific Rim was all about giant monsters wading out of the sea and into harbours to cause havoc. I had in fact already built a a mock-up of a corner harbour piece out of plasticard and a 1/700 harbour set by Tamiya:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I wasn’t completely happy with it though. A lot of plasticard was wasted in the design, and the corner design was quite limiting. This got me thinking…

Why not just paint the whole end of the table as seaside? The sea would probably be present in all games anyway, and if I didn’t want it for some reason, I could always cover it up. After a quick round of “is this another stupid, rash idea?”-thinking, I went to work, and in a short time I’d painted the end of the table a lovely sea blue, completely covering up my amateurish drybrushing mess.

coastline

Click for a larger version

What about the harbour then? With the sea fixed on the table, I figured the harbour just needed to be something to show where the sea ended and to make the razor sharp coastline a bit more interesting. I kept the main idea of my original harbour design, and simply cut out the strips I needed to make the pier. Wanting something more interesting, I went crazy and cut half of the pier in an angle. I was soooo pleased with myself, until I placed it on the waterline and had a wonderful facepalm moment.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

As you may have figured out, I’m not really an engineer. I am however a teacher, and fairly used to improvising fixes for my mistakes. I’ve lately been working with thin mousepads as scenery building material (might do a blog on it), so I just cut out a suitable shape, sprayed it black and voila!

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

After I paint it to match the pier, it won’t look out of place at all.

Finally, here’s a shot of the harbour with accessories. I think once it’s painted, it will look mighty lovely. The waterline design also means, that if I want to make a sandy beach for example, I can simply cut up mousepads, paint/flock them and lay them over the waterline. Great success!

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

h1

Genbu by Zenit Miniatures – a review

April 18, 2014

I usually spend money on miniatures somewhat sparingly. Or rather, I do consider price quite a lot when making my purchases, although I end up spending lots of money nevertheless. Usually this means I steer away from keywords such as “limited edition” or “boutique” or “for collectors” when it comes to miniatures. Despite this, every now and then I run into something exceptionally interesting that makes me break this rule, and I end up doing a review like the one that follows after this unnecessarily long intro.

As regular readers know, I’m working on a project inspired by the movie Pacific Rim, and thus I’m on the lookout for interesting monsters and giant robots. I visited Salute 2014 a week ago, and I ran into a miniature I’d seen on a news site before and noticed, but which had slipped my mind – Genbu by Zenit Miniatures.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Genbu is a giant, bipedal turtle monster with a snake for a tail, and a part of Zenit Miniatures’ Kensei line. If the concept sounds strange, it has its roots in Chinese (and later Japanese) mythology, and you can read more about it here. Genbu also links directly into the kaiju genre, as it’s undoubtedly the inspiration behind Gamera.

The model comes in seven parts: main torso, shell, tail and four limbs. Normally I would classify this as a nightmare, as I loathe putting metal miniatures together after too many cases of ill-fitting and poorly cast parts requiring literally hours of filing, sanding, cutting, pinning and filling to fit. Zenit Miniatures’ offering was a positive surprise in this respect: the parts fit together well right out of the box. There are joins that need filling, but the model doesn’t appear to require pinning – although you may want to do that with the tail due to the small surface for attaching it. The shell especially snaps into place in a very, very satisfying manner. The one glaring exception to this is the left leg, which I simply couldn’t get to fit well, and will require filling of the joint.

Both the torso and the inside of the shell are hollow, in a smart move to reduce the amount of metal needed. Genbu stands at 45-46mm from soles to top of head, so the model is impressively sized and will work as a giant monster in smaller scales or an ogre sized one in 28mm. There’s a separate square plastic base included, but I mounted mine on a standard 40mm round base.

Sculpting on Genbu is excellent. The sculptor has managed to make a wonderfully characterful giant turtle monster with a gnarled, well textured skin. My only complaint is that the model was originally supposed to be a giant Kappa (see here for original concept art, notice the distinct lack of tail) and as such the Genbu model still has a patch of hair-like texture on top of its head, which doesn’t quite fit in. Even though it can be painted to match the skin, the texture is obviously different. Casting quality is very good, with crisp detail and very little flash. There are some noticeable mould lines but they were quick and easy to clean.

Praise upon praise then, any downsides? Yes. There’s one obvious one that I mentioned right at the start. I bought Genbu at £18.60, and on the Zenit Miniatures site it retails at €19.95. Nice as the model is, that is a hefty price compared to many competitors on the market and will sadly put potential customers off buying it. The model comes with nice packaging – a padded cardboard box with a full colour sleeve around it. I can’t help seeing this as somewhat too much. I don’t know the actual packaging costs, but this grates on me a from an ecological viewpoint as well. I’ve added a photo below showing the actual space the model takes up vs. the size of the box. Then again, the lovely packaging did catch my eye, but it’s a very rare case that I actually by something from a brick and mortar store. If I was mail ordering Genbu, the shipping would add an extra €5 to the price, bringing it to €24.99 and probably keeping me from buying it. Then again, I know a lot of people are used to spending lots more on a single mini than I am, so your mileage may vary!

Click for a larger version

A smaller box maybe?

As usual, I added a size comparison picture. I also added a 28mm miniature, as Genbu is intended to be a large creature in that scale.

L to R: Pacific Rim Heroclix Knifehead, em4, Genbu, Reaper CAV Weasel

L to R: Pacific Rim Heroclix Knifehead, em4, Genbu, Reaper CAV Weasel

Overall verdict: Genbu is pricey, but you do get a very nice model for your money. Good, clean sculpting and very nice casting with (mostly) well fitting parts mean that you won’t pull your hair out putting the model together. If you’re on the lookout for a great giant turtle monster to spice up your games, whether they’re giant monster ones or something else, you could do far worse. Also, if you leave out the tail, this is the nicest Gamera in miniature form you’ll probably find.

You can get Genbu direct from Zenit Miniatures.

h1

Great rack

April 5, 2014

While cleaning up my painting desk, I got to thinking that one of these ‘paint racks’ that everyone seems to be talking about could be a good purchase. With pre-cut mdf popping up everywhere, I went looking. Happily I didn’t have to look very far before I ran into a great review of paint racks available from the Miniaturicum website. The review was enough to sell me on the rack, so I suggest you go and read it. In fact I was going to review it myself, but with a solid review (that I agree with 100%) existing already, I figured it wasn’t worth writing. Go check the review out, it’s well written and describes everything you need to know about the rack.

The rack arrived from Germany to Finland in less than a week and with clear and easy instruction assembly took me roughly under 10 minutes. It’s sturdy, neat and houses 72 paint bottles. I especially like the shelf design, as I use a variety of paint brands and I can fit all of them easily on the rack. With taxes and shipping it set me back a little under 33 EUR, so while not cheap, it’s good value for money.

So, as a result of blogospheric marketing and German engineering, I’m now a proud owner of a lovely Farbständer. I definitely suggest buying one of these, if you’re looking for a way to organise your paints or make room on your desk. There are different designs avaible too. You can check them all out in the Miniaturicum webshop.

Below is a picture of my painting table now. I love how neat and organised it is, and how much space I now have to clutter…

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

As a final note I must apologise for the terrible pun in the post title. It was inevitable.

h1

Housecleaning

March 29, 2014

I haven’t painted anything in what seems to be ages. These painting slumps aren’t anything new to me, but usually I’ve gotten past them fairly easily. This time it seems to be taking a lot of time, so I started thinking about what might be causing my reluctance – I have a solid, ongoing project and I’ve done plenty of work on it, so why no painting?

That’s when I took a look at my painting desk.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

See? Small wonder I didn’t feel like painting, as there was no room to paint in the first place. So I removed everything from the desk and cleaned them up. I was left with this:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

After first attacking this with a dust cloth and then wiping it with a wet cleaning rag, I started putting the stuff back. This was a good chance to give paints a bit of a shake and to organise them according to colour. The final result is shown below.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Pretty neat (literally), isn’t it? This also inspired me to buy a paint rack from Miniaturicum.de.

To recap, here’s a before and after shot:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I think the whole operation actually worked, as painting feels like a much more appealing idea now, and I’m actually looking forward to getting some painting done. Great success! If you’re ever stuck in a painting slump, this just might be the key.

By the way, this led me to cleaning up the room I paint (and write these blogs) in. A nice working environment really does wonders.

h1

City planning

March 23, 2014

Work continues on my Pacific Rim board. I recently made the base for the game board by first taping the edges of a 60 x 120 cm Finnfoam sheet with blue masking tape, and then gluing wallpaper (see this post) to it. The operation went fairly smoothly – literally – as there were only a few small bubbles left in one part of the sheet. I actually used a rolling pin to smooth it! The key was in the mixture of PVA glue and water, as it needed to be runny enough to make sure no place was left unglued. There are two seams, and they turned out very neat and tidy as well.

Here’s a look at the board itself:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

And with added buildings:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

At this point it looks nice, but still a bit too sterile and clean, so I figured I’d throw in a bit of (WIP) scenics, a few creatures, a tiny tank and some fire and smoke:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The buildings are a mix of paper ones from Sarna that I’ve customized, and Monsterpocalypse buildings. They fit together quite nicely, but I still need loads more. I thought of making separate streets, but figured it might be too much of a hassle and create a potentially unnecessary slew of more loose elements. Then again, streets would probably make it look more like a cityscape and less like a grey field. Of course, this is still very much a work in progress thing, but the question of streets keeps bugging me. Do I need them, or will simply adding more variety to the cityscape work? What do you think?

 

h1

Giant monster inspiration

March 16, 2014

godzilla

When I’m doing a project, I tend to go crazy over inspirational media related to it. In that spirit, I present to you two film trailers linked to my current Pacific Rim project:

Enormous

From GeekTyrant:

The film picks up years after E Day, the worldwide attack of massive insect like beasts, as the remaining humans from all walks of life must band together to survive and fight back against the monstrous invaders. Viewers are introduced to Ellen (Ceren Lee), a mother who has lost her child, and watch as she prepares to play a major role in the human resistance. The cast also includes Steve Braun (Wrong Turn 2), and Erica Gimpel (Veronica Mars).

The hit graphic novella series Enormous, tells of how humanity is plunged down the food chain when an ecological event creates gargantuan beasts that decimate civilization. The series explores how humans react and cope with survival from multiple points of views and from multiple settings around the planet. In the tone of Cloverfield and The Walking Dead, Enormous focuses on strong characters and complicated relationships with the monsters as the background.

Sounds pretty groovy to me. It’s a web series, and premieres on March 20th.

Godzilla

Oh, you ‘ve probably never heard of Godzilla. Apparently it’s some kind of a monster movie.

From IMDb:

An ancient colossal creature is accidentally awakened by mankind, and seemingly leaves nothing but destruction in its wake, as its presence becomes known to the world.

Official site can be found here. The movie premieres in the US on May 16th.

Really looking forward to both of these!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 80 other followers

%d bloggers like this: