Archive for the ‘Miniatures’ Category


The sweetest imperfection

May 15, 2022

Wow, really hasn’t been an active year for blogging, has it? While DotL has been very quiet, I’ve been busy with hobby stuff – and I’ll hopefully eventually post about it.

Much of this year’s gaming has been Five Parsecs from Home, a solo game that I’m happy to recommend, which I have been printing and painting models and scenery for. However, this is more of an editorial style post than a regular From the painting desk one. Why is this? Because I’m doing something profoundly different!

By “profoundly different” I don’t mean a new technique or a fancy new tool, but a fundamentally different approach to what I usually do. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to miniatures stuff (and various other minor things in life). Very small things can bug me far too much. An irritating mote of dust stuck to a miniature’s varnish. A slightly off painted eye. A mould line that I didn’t clean up neatly enough. Support marks on prints. A slightly different colour tone on two miniatures’ bases when they should be the same…you get the idea.

In general I don’t mind this, it’s just who I am after all, but it can cause some practical issues now and then, such as when you’re in need of a table full of new terrain. Sticking to my usual working habits, a table full of scifi terrain would probably take me months, and even that would involve compromises. That’s really not good for actually getting a game in – a couple of months is plenty of time for a budding project to run out of steam and result in half-finished reminders of that one cool idea you had.

Solution? Live with these minor imperfections. This is obviously nothing groundbreaking, and I’m sure it’s something every miniaturist thinks about at some stage. Sometimes you’ve done something as well as you can no matter if you’re happy with it or not, sometimes you just want to finish something so you can do something else that’s more inspiring or interesting. I’ve done this in the past too, and obviously I don’t put 110% into everything I do, sometimes I just want stuff that’s finished. This time, however, I’ve been doing it to a different extent than usual.

With this scifi scenery, I went for terrain that looks good on the table. I wanted it to look nice for gaming, but it does not have to stand up to close scrutiny or close-up photos – which this post will feature to illustrate a point. What this means in practice is that I printed at a much higher layer height than usual (0.2mm compared to my usual 0.12mm), only bothered to do minimal clean-up, and no imperfections such as failed or rough bits have been fixed. As I don’t want to bin things that can be used, these are basically stuff that I’d normally label “test prints” and give away for someone who can stand them being a bit crappy, or spend a lot of time fixing them with putties, sanding, and things like that.

The same goes for painting. These models have been hit with spray primers (one of which completely malfunctioned, covering the model and my spray booth in dry paint powder – no matter, still used the model), lathered in quickly made washes, and given a couple of coats of drybrushing using large brushes and craft store paints. Some very basic detailing and weathering, and that’s it, done!

You can click on the photos below to enlarge them.

Wrong printer settings resulted in funky random lines on the surface. Also, the windows are just blotches of paint.

Layer line central! Printers aren’t good at shapes like the pipes here.

These buildings have detachable roofs…

…that warped horribly after painting.

My printer had a rough day with this file, resulting in some gnarly texture and print artifacts.

Spray can malfunction left the inside gritty and chalky. I decided not to do anything to it, as I don’t usually play inside buildings anyway.

At first this felt horrible, but as it was a very conscious experiment, I decided to plough through and just live with it. What do you know, at some point I started to be more and more happy about them! Are they perfect? No! Do they need to be? Also no! Placed on they table they look really nice actually, and of course everything is subjective – I would’ve died for terrain this cool as a kid! This isn’t an “oh, woe is me, my super high standards are simply unbearable” kind of thing, but more an issue of my own personal flaws features and idiosyncracies and dealing with them in a healthy and beneficial way. I know this may not seem like a big thing, but believe me, it is!

Local planetery enforcers about to get destroyed by a genestealer. Doesn’t look at all bad to me.

I’m sure most of us have feelings of inadequacy at one point or another in this hobby: with the internet full of amazingly skilled people, while inspiring, it can also be disheartening at times. Learning to let go of excessive perfectionism or self-criticism that needlessly holds back hobby enjoyment is, I think, a great way of getting more out of our toys. For me, it meant putting together a bunch of very adequate terrain in a fraction of the time it usually would’ve taken, which means more time left for other things, more terrain to actually use in games, and more joy from completing things. Most of all, it allowed me to enjoy this awesome hobby even more than before. Importantly, this isn’t a “you should do this as well” post. Lavish attention on your models to your heart’s content if that is what makes you happy!

As an interesting final note, I started this post months ago but haven’t gotten around to finishing it. After digging the models out of storage, I found myself thinking that they actually look pretty nice and much better than I remembered. This made me happy – it seems there’s been an actual shift in how I view these things now, so…go me, I guess?

The hut in the first few pictures is a micro hab unit by Saucermen Studios, available for free on Thingiverse.

The buildings with the detachable roofs are stackable buildings by Rocketship Games, also available for free on Thingiverse


From the painting desk #79 – Fembruary 2022

February 27, 2022

Wow, late February and it’s the first post this year. Better late than never!

The Fembruary challenge, a brainchild of Alex from over on Leadballoony, is one of my favourite things in the online miniatures scene – heaven knows our little corner of the hobby world benefits from more representation.

I’ve been painting a lot this year (apparently instead of blogging), and these three models are my entry to this year’s Fembruary:

First up is a rogue trader type character, the leader of my Five Parsecs from Home gang. Dubbed Nura Aleh by the wonderful Realm of Plastic 40k name generator, the mini is a 3d printable one from Studio Sol Union, kitbashed with a printed head from Knight Soul Studio. I think the combination makes for a pretty cool whole. My vague background story, based on the Five Parsecs random background generator for the character is that she’s a former or renegade inquisitor. For the clothes I went for a gold/purple combination – a tried and true combination and nicely a bit flamboyant.

Photo of miniature with long coat and pistol, views from the front and the back

Click for a larger version

The second model is another member of the Five Parsecs gang, the wasteland nomad mercenary Esma. The model is an old, OOP Infinity Ariadna scout sniper by Corvus Belli that I picked up years back at the local RPG convention if I recall correctly. I’d always considered the character to represent a woman, yet when I started to paint it, I realized that there were no gender identifiers there – which is actually kinda cool. A female model does not have to be super strongly (and stereotypically) coded as a woman with breasts, high heels or the like. For the paintjob I drew inspiration from the background, a wasteland nomad didn’t really speak to me of ostentatious clothing, so I went with very muted tones.

Photo of miniature with assault rifle, dressed in a cloak. Front and back views.

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The third and final mini is my rendition of a Vindicare Assassin for my 40k army. Originally a Tempest guardsman sniper by Velrock Art, I removed the cloak before printing. The sculptor has intentionally made modifications to the minis wonderfully easy, as the cloak was simply a single element that could be removed using Meshmixer. This was a bit of a tricky model to paint, as it’s very, very black. I went for a few different tones, painted some sharp highlights on the bodysuit and made the armour and knee and elbow pads a bit more dull. I gave the hair an auburn look for a spot of colour, and painted the eye lenses red for a bit of extra contrast and menace. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it!

Photo of assassin miniature with rifle, dressed in all black. Front and back views.

Click for a larger version

To wrap up this post, a shot of the trio in more fitting surroundings.

Photo of three miniatures, an assassin, a rogue trader, and a mercenary standing on a metal walkway with scifi scenery in the background.

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Azadi Death Front #1 – Getting into 40k

December 19, 2021

This might sound like an April Fools’ thing, but I’ve started a small project for…Warhammer 40k. Wait, what? After not having touched the game since the 90s, I tried a small scenario with some close friends a while back (using my Colonial Marines as Imperial Guard), and realized that it was actually pretty fun! This, combined with the fact that I had long been eyeing the Azadi Death Front models from 40 Emperor, and the realization that a 40k army doesn’t have to be an ultra massive endeavour, have led to me starting a small 40k force. While I haven’t played the game, I have enjoyed many of the different 40k digital games, and quite like the fiction too. The Imperial Guard (or Astra Militarum in silly trademarkable lingo) has always been my favourite. This shouldn’t be a surprise, given my love for AliensStarship Troopers and the like. They’re the underdogs, the meat that gets fed into the grinder – albeit meat with pretty sweet tanks.

The ADF models are a really cool force of all-female troopers, inspired by Kurdish YPJ soldiers. I don’t really want to mix real-world politics with my toy soldiers too much, but I love both the look of the minis and appreciate their real-world counterparts. Headscarves, sneakers, harem pants – what’s not to like. A bit of extra representation in the grim darkness of the far future isn’t a bad thing either.

Illustration by Alberto Luna, ©40Emperor

Now, I’m not a fan of batch painting, which has been a major detriment to any army-based miniature gaming thing since my WHFB days. However, I happened to have a very free weekend – back in October when I started this post(!) – so I printed out a whole squad of troopers, gave them a blast of black primer, and got to work. It was a fun weekend’s work, and I watched a bunch of films and series from my backlog (Wandavision is fun, What if…? is fun, Predators is still fun, AvP and AvP: Requiem were still not good but better than I remembered, and I quite enjoyed Alien: Resurrection much to my surprise). At the end of it I had an actual squad to be used in 40k, with even a few extra models thrown in. For me, finishing 12 models over a couple of days is a huge thing!

I wanted to try some new techniques, so I did a bit of OSL on the plasma gunner, and some heated metal effects on the support weapons – which I think turned out pretty nice! All of the scarves are different, and allowed me to break up the uniformity of the squad. I want them to look more like a a militia/rebel force than a super uniform military unit, and I think that works decently well too. With the bases I went for a kind of a rocky, sandy Afghanistan look – not quite desert, but dry, dusty and barren.

Photo of female imperial guard squad

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Photo of four female imperial guard troopers

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Photo of four female imperial guard troopers

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Photo of four female imperial guard troopers

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After the squad, I’ve painted a Sisirk war walker, the ADF’s equivalent of a Sentinel, some Heresy scifi troopers with 3d printed female heads (to represent Tempestus Scions), a custom Hero Forge Astropath, and I’m nearly done with a Chimera alternative too! This doesn’t mean that I’ve neglected all my other projects: I’ve painted a bunch of gothic horror monsters, some graveyard pieces and monster hunters, too! I’ll show those off too, possibly, eventually, maybe.

As regulars have probably noticed, the blog has been very quiet for the past few months. As usual, there’s nothing dramatic involved, luckily! I’ve been really busy with work, took some time off to go to London for Salute 2021 (happy I did, as next year’s event is cancelled), and so on – “the uze”, as Cheetor would say. As I’ve mentioned approximately a hundred times by now, as a lot of my daily work is writing, whether research articles or grant applications or professional communications, there’s not usually a lot of energy for spare time writing. I’m thoroughly enjoying reading your blogs, though, and I’m not about to leave this wonderful little community! I’m on holiday for the next three weeks, so I ‘m fairly certain the blog will pick up a bit again – it usually does towards the end of the year!


Projects, projects, projects

August 22, 2021

Most of the miniatures stuff I post on this blog relates to my pirate project, which has been ongoing now since 2015. However, there are more projects going on, so I figured I’d write a post detailing all the stuff going on. Before I get to what I’m working on at the moment, a few words for context.

After doing pirates for so many years and investing a lot of time and effort into them, I find myself in need of diversions every now and then, and obviously pirates aren’t the only thing that interest me. However, I’ve had enough projects stall in my lifetime to know pretty well how my head functions with these things: push something too far in the back, and it might be a loooooong time before it gets back into the spotlight. Unless you’re a very long-time reader, you probably don’t know about my Underworld project (2009–), or my Aliens board game project (2012–). You might have seen my Pacific Rim project (2014–), although I don’t blame you if you haven’t. These three projects have been sitting quiet for twelve, nine, and seven years now, respectively. I’ll eventually get to them, I’m (genuinely) sure, but once the momentum is gone it can take a lot of time to build it up again. The Underworld project just kind of drifted away, the Aliens thing stalled – I think – because Prometheus killed a lot of my fanboy enthusiasm for the setting and it hasn’t fully recovered to date. With the Pacific Rim thing, I wasn’t happy with the board, ended up binning it, and also found that I’m not a big fan of painting machines, which is a bit of a drawback in a project focusing on giant mechs. A huge backlog of miniatures doesn’t help here either: there’s always other stuff to paint, so a lack of enthusiasm can push stuff way back in the painting queue, and life is too short to paint too many things you’re not excited by.

I’ve solved the problem above by tying pretty much all of my current projects together! They all have more or less overlap potential, which obviously helps, as I don’t have to “abandon” a project to work on another, which reduces the risk of projects slipping into oblivion. With this preface, here’s what I’m currently working on and how they tie together. I’ve listed the main project branches with their subprojects.

Pirates are a bit obvious, aren’t they? However, while this is nominally about pirates, in actuality this project is more Hollywoodish 18th century in general. In addition to pirates, there are sailors, civilians, merchants, redcoats, highwaymen and so on. This sprawling thing forms the backbone of my projects. A lot of the buildings and other terrain are made with this in mind. There are several subprojects to this:

Undead pirates are exactly that. This subproject should probably be called something like Nautical horror or something along those lines, as in addition to pirates there are crabmen and other monstrosities.

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Barbary corsairs are historical pirates with an Arabian/North African feel. As with my other pirates, I’m playing pretty fast and loose with history here.

Foundry 28mm barbary pirates

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Pirate hunters is a finished subproject! It’s a trope-laden group of special characters, fit for all sorts of hunting duties.

Group shot of pirate hunter miniatures

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Blackpowder horror has obvious overlap with the stuff above, yet it’s still a theme of its own. It’s the Headless horseman and all sorts of other things that go bump in the very dark nights of the 17th and 18th centuries. All of the humans and terrain are perfectly compatible with the pirate stuff, and vice versa. The undead and other monster pirates are a perfect fit here as well. Whereas my pirates are situated somewhere in the Caribbean, this project has a more haunted New England vibe.

Picture of headless horseman miniature

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Monster hunters is a subproject, although currently the main focus of this theme. I already have some vampires and werewolves, but more are included in this subproject. The main focus, however, are the gritty humans who hunt these monsters. Pretty much any of the pirate hunter characters fit in here as well. Some of the minis I bought way back in 2009 for my Underworld project will find new use here.

Click for a larger version. Picture © Velrock Miniatures

Lost World stems from our upcoming Ghost Archipelago game. Dinosaurs, giant gorillas, ruined temples, jungle beasts, mysterious tribes – the works. This theme has a jungle vibe to it, and is kind of a catch-all project, what can’t you find on a mysterious island? Pirates are a no-brainer here, with their tendency to end up on mysterious islands and get eaten. Switching the regular pirates to Barbary corsairs brings this more towards an Adventures of Sinbad kind of thing.

Photo of painted lizard miniature

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Arabian nights is my early stages project of Persian and Arabian mythology viewed through a pop culture lens. It’s flying carpets, mysterious spirits, and evil sultans galore. This project is very much fantasy. While quite timeless, it’s still much more swords and shields than gunpowder. The buildings and other terrain for this project are a perfect fit for my Barbary corsairs, and many of the human characters work nicely in either setting.

Photo of painted miniature genie

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As you can see, these different but connected projects allow me to paint a lot of different miniatures as the mood strikes me, without really abandoning any of them. Want to do something bright and cheery? I can paint some colourful jungle creatures or maybe a djinni. Dark and moody? Undead and hunters, maybe some graveyard terrain. Historical? Covered. Fantasy? Covered. High adventure? Covered. Horror? Covered.

With these projects and subprojects occupying my time, I have zero fear of running out of steam in the foreseeable future. I hope this post illuminates how I organize my different projects! It also serves as a pretty good guide for what you can expect to see on this blog.


From the painting desk #78 – A ship of sorts

August 15, 2021

During the summer holidays, I mostly worked on a new(ish) side project – undead pirates. Having painted a bunch of crewmen, that I’m sure to post at some point during the next few years, I realized that obviously my crew needs a ship. None of the offerings on the market really struck a chord though, as they were a little too over the top for me. Cool as ships built of huge bones are, I was more in search of a traditional Flying Dutchman look, or something resembling the Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean. In other words, a pretty regular ship, but tattered, like a zombie of a ship. In fact, the search for such a ship still continues!

During my search, I came across something that I had eyed in the past, a wonderfully crazy model of a small ship carried on back of a huge monstrous crab, produced by Print Your Monsters. The model is pretty much a definition of “over the top”, but who cares, I wanted it! I bought the STL files for it, printed it out and got to work.

Now, in all honesty, resin 3d prints are shit challenging in terms of multi-part kits. Resin printing can be surprisingly inaccurate, which leads to all sorts of alignment issues and so on. Very much so with this pretty complex kit as well. Out came some Green Putty though, and I had a decent looking completed model. There’s still a small visible gap that I missed, but on a model like this, I don’t mind all that much. I decided to save resin and printed the base on my FDM printer, using thinned down putty to mostly eliminate visible layer lines on the rocks.

Painting a large model like this is pretty daunting. It’s a centrepiece, so has to look pretty nice, but on the other hand there’s a ton of stuff to paint. The undead theme helped here! I’ve painted my zombies and the like pretty weathered, dark, and muted, so went for it here as well. I settled on a dark green and fleshy purple combination, and I think it works pretty well! The underside of the crab, not really all that visible, has a nasty, pale, pink-white look. The model was very much a drybrush/Contrast paint/wash affair, cutting down on time and resulting in exactly the look I wanted. It also helped hide some rough putty work!

Click for a larger version

The model was bedecked with skulls, which posed a narrative challenge: were these actual skulls or decorations? I settled for painting the skulls on the ship a weathered bronze colour, while the skulls on the shell I painted as bone. They pop nicely, making the model more interesting. The crab’s limbs have a lot of flat coral, which I painted in muted yellows and reds, giving them very pale edges as I think that’s a very recognizable look!

Click for a larger version

For the base, I went with my usual look for my nautical undead, black decorative sand with tea leaves and pizza seasoning. As it’s a large base, in addition to the sculpted-on detail I added some shipwreck-y planks and barrel halves from Renedra, and a brass model ship cannon barrel that I had kicking about. I had stuck a metal pin on the highest rock to support the model – otherwise only connected to the base by the small tips of the legs – and mostly hid that with some suitably underwater looking vegetation. As with my other undead, the idea here is of a kind of otherworldly sea bottom that they carry with them. Of course the black bases also provide a striking contrast with the bright sandy bases of my pirates and civilians, and are generic enough.

The banner was the thing I finished last. I sort of wanted some sort of cool pirate flag design on it, but after a single try, I realized that my freehand skills were not up to it. On a straight hanging flag maybe, but with the folds and the flag billowing to one side…nope. I decided to go for a simple black flag, which I think looks menacing enough.

Click for a larger version

The monstrous ship actually only has space for four miniatures, but I don’t really mind. Rather than a proper ship, this is more a command vessel, likely for an undead pirate lord going “MWHAHAHAHAHAA!” While I’d love to show it off in full, the model is a nightmare to photograph, but hopefully the pictures at least give an idea of it – I hope to post some more in the future! I posed a Black Scorpion skeleton pirate and some Pariah Miniatures zombies on the model for a bit of added fun.

With this thing finally finished, I want something a lot less work-intensive. While it’s fun to do a big piece every now and then, I’m in no rush to start the next one!


Hunting pirates #6 – All done!

July 8, 2021

It’s summer holiday time, and that means I finally have the time and energy to get to blogging, a little bit at least! This post is a special one though, as I rarely get to make one – it actually marks the end of a project, and this is because of actual completion, not dried-up interest.

With most of my projects usually being very much open-ended, it was a delight to actually take one to a clear, pre-defined finish. So here they are, my pirate hunters! A group of tropey types defined in my initial post, the bit of extra character made all the difference when painting them. For me, a little fantasy – thinking about the characters and their back stories – is a really good motivator, so I’ll have to do even more of that in the future.

In the end, I made one change in the cast, as I wasn’t completely happy with the Hero Forge duelist I’d made. However, as I drew inspiration for him from The Three Musketeers’ Comte de Rochefort, I realised that I actually had the good count as a miniature already. The model I have is by Redoubt Enterprises, and is actually a really nice piece. I think I originally skipped him as there was a fair bit of flash on the model and the sword was a little bent – the kind of things you “can’t be bothered with right now”. The model is very tall especially compared to my Foundry pirates, which also left him sitting in a box for years. Once cleaned up, painted, and based, he fit the crew just fine!

Group shot of pirate hunter miniatures

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So, from left to right, front row:  the second-in-command, one of the twins, the leader, the other twin, the sniper. Back row: the beastmaster and his dogs, the scholar, the veteran, the unhinged, and the heavy.

They’ve been based in a way that combines elements from my pirates and my civilians, so they can easily serve as either, should I ever actually play a game. At the same time it makes them a faction of their own. They may get a small ship of their own some day in the future, but for now I’m happy just to have the crew. While they’re pirate hunters, they would actually make for a super cool 18th century vampire/monster hunter team as well, à la John Carpenter’s (or rather, John Steakley’s) Vampires. New sub-subproject, maybe?

For the previous posts in this project featuring many of the individual characters, check out the Pirate hunters tag.


Hunting pirates #5 – The Scholar and the Beastmaster

June 5, 2021

Another two – or actually four – miniatures completed for this mini project! Two different manufacturers represented this time, Black Scorpion and Freebooter. As has probably come across on this blog, both make excellent pirate miniatures.

Of the two new entries, the first is the Scholar. He’s the cold, calculating brains, he handles the finances, never drinks to excess, and is happy to calmly use one of his pistols to settle disputes. In a very rational manner, obviously. I gave this Black Scorpion privateer expensive looking clothes. I even tried to freehand some patterns on the cloth, and the less said about that, the better – they are now resting under a coat of red paint. Practice will continue one day. I made the wig powdery white, and painted the details on the jacket white as well to contrast with the dark skin. I think it works pretty well.

Black Scorpion Privateer

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The rest of the minis come from Freebooter’s Fate. The model is called Tipo Duros (“tipo duro” is Spanish for tough guy or bad-ass, if Google is to be believed) and he has two attack dogs with him. The dogs were a pain to put together, as parts fit terribly even aften a lot of sanding and filing. I had to slap on a fair bit of filler, and at the painting stage I realised I’d still managed to leave in some misalignment. The tipo duro I am, I chose to live with it. The dogs and Tipo himself were all great fun to paint, and they make a cool trio. I’ve always been a big fan of fighting dogs and their handlers in popular culture, despite some of their ugly real-life history, so this set really appealed to me. The dogs might also make an appearance in the Ghost Archipelago, as you can add warhounds to your crew! Painting was fairly straightforward, and I went for my usual palette of reds, greens and browns.

Freebooter's Fate Tipo Duros

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Freebooter's Fate Tipo Duros

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This post stayed in a draft state for so long – it was started way back in November 2020 – that I’ve actually finished this mini project by now! I did change one mini from my original plans, and to keep you coming back, I will reveal it in a future post. Exciting, no?


From the painting desk #77 – Lizard beast

April 25, 2021

The blog has been pretty quiet lately, as work has been really hectic. We put together an academic seminar, which was this year’s biggest work-related thing (I assume/hope), so stress is now starting to ease up. Painting mojo has been somewhat down because of the lack of time, so I’ve spent most of my free time playing Age of Empires III and alternatively watching either Kengan Ashura or pro wrestling. With the seminar now behind me, I’m getting back to painting, with new mini projects looming again!

Before this cooldown period, I did manage to print and paint up a giant, six-legged lizard from Papsikels! It proved to be a bit of a bastard in a few ways. First of all, I struggled to print the base, which simply wouldn’t sit level when I printed it in resin. After a lot of sanding and cursing, I decided to print it on the FDM, and it came out perfect. The next hurdle was putting it together. It just would sit nicely on its rocky base, so I had to do a fair bit of putty work so it didn’t hang in thin air. After that, I got on with the painting…

My idea was to paint it in some kind of an exotic colour scheme, rather than dulled down brownish greens. I asked some nice people in our Ghost Archipelago group for ideas, and they suggested all sorts of colourful real-life lizards, so I ended up drawing inspiration from these. Now, the start of the painting was really easy. Spray undercoat, drybrush, Contrast, Contrast, Contrast. Then came the patterning part. The worst part of doing patterns on a very textured model, on which the painting relies mostly on washes and drybrushing, is that if you screw something up, you have to go back quite a few steps to fix your “canvas” for another try. Red patterns turned out to look too much like bloody wounds, black stripes made it look too much like a tiger. Repainting galore!

In the end I settled for a pale tail, an orange back pattern, and some irregular blue splashes of colour to suggest both toxicity and a fantastic element. Maybe when they’re small, they’re a great delicacy for some beast, resulting in warning colours. Or who knows about mythical islands, there’s probably something out there that snacks on these creatures when they’re fully grown.

Photo of painted lizard miniature

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Photo of painted lizard miniature

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Photo of painted lizard miniature

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Scene of lizard threatening pirate miniature

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After wrestling with the model quite a bit, I’m really happy it turned out as nice as it did. I went to town on the base, partly also to hide some spots where the model doesn’t quite sit right. Anyway, lots of new things on the painting desk, so hopefully I’ll get some of that out on the blog as well!


From the painting desk #76 – Brig ahoy!

February 13, 2021

Much as I enjoy a quiet life indoors, I have to say that especially now that spring is slowly creeping in, COVID stuff is getting to me. Usually around this time of the year, I would be making travel plans for London and Salute – much like I did last year (“I’m pretty sure this corona thing will be over by April”, good call, Nostradamus). It’s not a huge thing in the grand scheme of things, I haven’t had loved ones fall ill or anything like that, but I do miss normal life: travel, walking into shops and cafés without wearing a mask and worrying about safe distances, not flinching every time someone coughs nearby, hugging loved ones and so on and so on. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. At least it’s bright and sunny here in Finland, and we’ve had a lovely, snowy winter out here!

Anyway, onto nicer things. I’ve finally finished a ship! It’s been a good long while since I bought and printed the brig produced by Printable Scenery, and I finally managed to complete work on it. It was actually progressing at a decent rate, until I hit the dreariest part: putting together the masts and rigging. The ship sat for months and months in a mostly finished state, but I just couldn’t be bothered.

Click for a larger version

Mast and rigging work isn’t even all that awful, it’s just something I’ve developed an almost irrational dislike for. It took a few empty weekends to finally get myself around to doing the work, and even then it was bit by bit. As often happens, however, the better it started to look, the more it motivated me to keep going in a cycle of positive feedback! Now that it’s done, I must say I’m really, really happy with how it looks. Much as I would’ve liked to photograph it with some sort of lovely background, I had to settle for a beautiful sheet of blue foam. Emmi has been doing a lot of watercolour painting lately, and has promised to paint me a backdrop, I’m really looking forward to it!

Click for a larger version

Now, some people go for really accurate and realistic rigging. I didn’t. The approach I adopted was built on looks (“does it look like a ship’s rigging?”) and functionality (“can I place and move minis easily?”), and the end result reflects both. Minis can be moved, the setup is pretty sturdy, and to my eye it looks like, well, a ship.

Click for a larger version

The model is great, I think, but I could have maybe scaled it up a little. It’s that size where it would be pretty accurate with 28mm minis if they did not have bases and if 28mm didn’t mean 32mm. Still, these are the compromises we always make with buildings and terrain too, and there are only so many ships you can store in an apartment. If it doesn’t fit on a shelf, it’s going on the floor, and if it’s on the floor, it’s free game for dust, cats, and the occasional kick, so not really what you want for something you’ve spent hours and hours on.

Click for a larger version

With my previously finished Sea Dog by Games of War, I now have a very small pirate fleet! The brig packs plenty of firepower with 8 cannon and 8 swivel guns, while the Sea Dog sports four cannon. They also allow for a bit of ship to ship action. I have plenty more ships to make, including a second Sea Dog, and a xebec and some larger ships from the Pirates vs. Cthulhu kickstarter. Now what did I just say about space…


From the painting desk #75 – Pirate ladies

January 31, 2021

Another showcase of things I’ve painted fairly recently. I’m building an all-woman pirate crew for our upcoming Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago thing, so here’s a selection! Click on any photo for a larger version.

L to R: Bridge Games, Lovecraft Design x 2

The model on the left is actually a scifi mini from the Cobalt-1 range currently owned by Bridge Miniatures, and I think I got her from Alex over at Leadballoony. I assume she’s some sort of alien: the model did not have heels at all and I sculpted them on with putty. For some reason, her face reminded me of a young Pam Grier, so I decided to paint the model with dark skin. The two other models are printed pieces from Iain Lovecraft’s Pirates vs. Cthulhu kickstarter. I should’ve printed the middle mini a little smaller, but couldn’t be bothered as the size won’t be noticed anyway. On the right we have an excellent miniature rendition of Anne Bonny as she’s depicted in Black Sails.

L to R: Black Scorpion x 2, Reaper

Here, the first two miniatures are from Black Scorpion, and I really like them! They’re very characterful, but in different ways, the first one with a murderous intent and the second being wonderfully flamboyant. Extra bonus points for a body shape sadly very, very, very uncommon in woman miniatures which very much tend to be of the “sixpack and breast implants” variety. It’s one of the nicest pieces I’ve seen in a while! The thid mini is from Reaper Miniatures, and a good example of how fantasy miniature ranges can provide some excellent minis for pirate gaming.

L to R: Dead Earth Games x 2, Vae Victis

The third batch of three consists of two minis from Dead Earth Games’ Pirates of the Dread Sea range, and a very pirate-like vampire hunter from Vae Victis. For the pirate carrying the multi-barreled nock gun I went for some tattoos which I’m fairly happy with! They make her look pretty bad ass. The mini with the hook hand had an Indian look about her, so I used a fairly bright orange for the dress. It made me realise it’s a colour that I almost never use, but I quite liked the end result.

All together now!

There are miniatures here from no fewer than six different manufacturers, and I think the group shot is a nice example of how a uniform painting and basing style can really bring different lines together. At this stage and especially combined with my existing pirate women, I have all the minis I need for my crew. However, I’m quite motivated to paint at least a few more! It’s bringing some much needed variety to my pirates: before these minis the gender balance was something like 38 men to 8 women. It’s not a big thing in the overall scheme of things, but nevertheless makes me happy. It might be worth noting that this crew is distinctly lacking in pirates of the pin-up variety. As some of those can be nice sculpts, there are some cases where I’ve painted bare legs as tight pants, which is a nice enough compromise to me.

Work on the Ghost Archipelago project carries on, comments welcome as always!

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