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From the painting desk #71 – A whale of a time

April 8, 2020

Ok, this is in fact more a case of a whale out of time. I finally finished painting up a wonderfully disgusting whale carcass from the Depths of Savage Atoll Kickstarter. Regular readers might remember that I showed this three-part print back in September. It sat for a long time undercoated on my desk, and as often happens in these cases, once I actually got to painting it, it was a decently quick affair. I tried to play it a bit loose and not get too fiddly – basically just washes, drybrushes and some very rough layering. The carcass looks horrible, but in a good way, I think.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

It’s really relaxing to paint large, chunky pieces like this from time to time, it’s so different from the more intricate work required by 28mm or smaller minis. What’s more, painting something that’s supposed to look tatty, dirty and rotten, makes it even easier. It’s a rotting whale carcass, how neat does it need to be?

This will sit on a beach somewhere on Tyburn island, lending the place a quaint, nautical atmosphere. An old whale beached and eaten by scavengers, or a mighty ocean predator crushed by the Kraken? You never know…

I’ve been slowly building up (if not painting) a whole bunch of stuff to wash up on a shore – shipwrecks, half buried and broken barrels, driftwood, that sort of thing. I hope to make a kind of a ship graveyard at some point. This poor whale will fit right in.

In other news, there are no other news. Nothing is happening, I’m spending a lot of time working from home and quite enjoying it to be honest. Wrestlemania 36 was fun, the second season of Kingdom was really fun, season three of Castlevania was fun, the fifth season of Outlander is fun and a rewatch of Godzilla: King of Monsters reminded me that it was still fun, too. Life is not bad, all things considered. Hope you are keeping safe!

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From the painting desk #70 – Fountain

March 28, 2020

A quick piece I finished during an evening of lazy painting. This is a wonderful fountain from the Wightwood Abbey set (available as a freebie on Thingiverse) by Infinite Dimensions Games that I printed on my Lotmaxx SC-10. A simply paintjob of a grey primer followed by a liberal application of washes (Agrax Earthshade, Seraphim Sepia, Athonian Camoshade for the inside walls) and then drybrushed layers of sandy colours up to off-white, then some more mucking about with washes. In pieces like this it’s not usually a very systematic process for me, which I think helps me keep it looking more natural.

Photo of painted miniature fountain

Click for a larger version

I wanted the water look brackish and not too fresh, so went with a VGC Cayman green base and slopped on some lighter tones with plenty of Lahmian medium to help with blending. Once happy with it, I added three thick layers of gloss varnish. It’s not a super fancy water effect, but I like how it turned out!

The fountain was printed at a time when I was still experimenting with FDM printing (to be honest, I still am). While the layer lines aren’t nearly as pronounced as in the windmill I showed earlier, they’re still more visible than in my latest prints. However, I think the piece is perfectly adequate for gaming – especially considering it was free! As you can see from the Black Scorpion mini beside it, it’s a sizable piece.

In other news, I’m looking at getting some gaming mats just for setting up my minis and townscapes. If there’s something good to be said about this whole pandemic thing, it’s that more time at home means more energy for projects and more space for the imagination.

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It rhymes with Ovid

March 15, 2020

So by now you’re very much familiar (hopefully not too intimately) with COVID-19 and the whole coronavirus thing. This is obviously a serious situation, and a very trying time for people who are themselves part of a risk group or have loved ones at risk. For me as a healthy young(ish) person it’s more a case of staying at home to avoid passing the infection around. I’m currently waiting for the surely forthcoming news of Salute 2020 being cancelled, and I assume that our long-awaited holiday trip to London is off the cards too, what with travel bans and all. Things at work have been disappointing too, with several major seminars and conferences cancelled after a lot of work put into them. Of course these are minor issues compared to being afraid for your life, but it doesn’t really help.

Despite all the risk, there are some things that are making things more palatable: both of us working from home currently means a lot more family time, and cancelled kung fu, yoga and dance classes mean plenty more free evenings. We don’t have kids, so family time is very relaxing. The cats are happy that we’re home all the time, too.

On the hobby front more free time obviously means more time for everything fun-without-leaving-the-house. Personally, I’m looking forward to doing a lot more painting than usual, tackling my Steam backlog of unplayed digital games (I started with Yes, Your Grace yesterday, highly recommended!) and shortening my reading queue too. Might as well make the most of this sudden influx of time! I have a few recently finished Black Scorpion miniatures that I’ll post about soon.

Despite the global hardships, I can’t shake a feeling of a kind of fascination with the situation. Yes, it is a catastrophe in many ways, and I definitely don’t want to make light of it. But as I wrote in literally the first post of this blog, back in 2009:

I’ve always been fascinated (in a very sanerational and normal sense) by catastrophes, what-if fantasies, tales of desperate struggle and the end of the world. The sinking of Titanic, alternative history, Helm’s deep, Alamo, Chernobyl,  The Book of Revelation, global epidemics, thermonuclear war…you name it. The zombie genre combines all of this. Simple as that.

Obviously and luckily this isn’t the apocalypse and make no mistake – I hope we clear this thing as quickly as possible with as little tragedy as possible. There’s still something oddly unreal about this situation and watching it develop. It’s not fun, it’s not cool, but it’s interesting.

I don’t usually discuss topical, non-hobby events on the blog, and don’t really intend to. However, during the past years a wonderful micro community has sprung up around miniature blogging, and I’m frankly quite interested in how you lot are doing in your corner of the world. Stay safe, and keep painting and posting hobby stuff, we all need the entertainment!

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From the painting desk #69 – A Scot and a Spaniard

March 1, 2020

Two more painted miniatures join the populace of Tyburn Island, both on the more lawful side of things. First up is a Scottish sailor from Galloping Major. As part of my new year’s plans to push myself a bit more in terms of painting technique, I decided to try my hand at painting tartan. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a strong dislike to freehand painting, which I’m consciously trying to get over. Tartan seemed like a good thing to try.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Some tutorials, some painting, some repainting, some trial and some error later I was surprised to have something I’m quite proud of! It looks like a tartan pattern to me and that’s what I was going for, so I’ll put this in the success column. Overall this was another fun mini to paint. Galloping Major miniatures are clean and pretty bulky, which makes them very painter friendly. I have a full set of 18th century sailors and I’m looking forward to painting up some more of them.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The second model I painted was a printed one from a file by 3DBreed Miniatures. A freebie from their 1775 Join or Die Kickstarter (which I backed), it’s a rendition of Bernardo de Gálvez, a Spanish military leader from the latter half of the 18th century. The print came out wonderfully on my Photon, and I’m happy with the paintjob as well. I went with quite bright and clean colours – he’ll be a wonderful officer, gentleman or a rich merchant captain. I have a bunch of lovely STL files from the Kickstarter, and I’m looking forward to printing more of them!

As usual, I feel like I’m struggling terribly with my photography. Not sure if I’m lighting up my minis too harshly, showing them in too large close-ups or what, but in the photos they look like they’ve been painted with fingerpaints. Le sigh.

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Fembruary 2020: Emilia

February 22, 2020

Alex over on Leadballoony is currently running the Fembruary challenge. This excellent initiative is running for the third year in a row now, with Alex describing it as follows:

the deal is ‘Paint at least one Female miniature’ – it’s that simple! I’m not bothered what genre, game, manufacturer, painting style or material you go with. It can be a squad, a single mini, a diorama, or whatever takes your fancy… I’m just looking for awesome portrayals of the feminine in miniature form, as part of an ongoing conversation about how women are presented within our hobby.

I’m definitely up for that! As my Fembruary effort I decided to paint the governor’s daughter from Black Scorpion. I’ve had the mini sitting half-finished for years now, so I figured that I’d remedy this too. Two birds, one stone, etc.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

As you’ve no doubt noticed from the post title, the young lady is named Emilia. While you might assume that this is a reference to my amazing wife, I actually painted the miniature to depict the character Emilia Rothschild (as played by Angela Dotchin) from the excellent, dumb, feel-good show Jack of All Trades.

The main characters of Jack of All Trades: Jack (Bruce Campbell) and Emilia (Angela Dotchin)

Here’s Emilia posing with The Daring Dragoon, Jack’s alter ego. I don’t think I’ve shown him before, although he has featured in a Halloween battle report some years back!

Click for a larger version

This brings my painting tally for the year up to 2. Only 98 more things to paint to reach my goal! Then again, I’m super happy to have managed to participate in Fembruary – thanks Alex!

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A windmill

February 1, 2020

As the very, very imaginative post title suggests, this post is about a windmill. Said windmill is one of the early prints on my Lotmaxx SC-10, and is a free model from Thingiverse. As basically a test print using pretty poor quality filament, it has quite harsh layer lines and I couldn’t really be bothered to clean it up. I was already thinking of simply giving it away (as I’ve done with some other test prints), but figured I’d paint it up for fun. While it wasn’t all that fun – the windmill blades especially were a pain – I have to say I’m quite pleased with the end result, especially when viewed from a tabletop distance. The natural stone look turned out pretty nice! I threw in a couple of minis to act as a size reference. I think the Fezzik/André the Giant mini makes for a great miller, or at least a mill worker. The windmill blades actually spin, that obviously warrants a mention.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Luckily my newer prints are much smoother. The striated look on the close-up photo is exactly what I want to avoid, but then again: waste not, want not.

In non-miniature news (and pretty much explaining my lack of blog posts, I had my disputation last Saturday. Everything went well and I had a great time, so once the university paperwork is done, I get my PhD in education. My dissertation (in Finnish) deals with young people’s digital gaming – should you be interested, you can check out the summary here. And because it’s nice to occasionally share something outside the realm of minis, here I am posing, white tie and all, with one of my big brothers, my mother, and Emmi.

The happy family!

Back to the miniatures: with the windmill finished, I am now at 2/100 in my goal to finish 100 miniatures/scenery pieces during 2020. Might need to pick up the pace a bit.

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2019 recap

January 2, 2020

2019

Another year gone, what happened in 2019 hobby-wise?

Amazingly 2019 was the first ever year that I kept track of my miniature purchases and the like. Here’s the tally (“miniatures” refers to scenery pieces as well):

Miniatures bought: 62

Miniatures printed: 42

Miniatures sold or given away: 112

Miniatures painted: 57

Larger terrain pieces finished: 4

All in all I’m quite happy with the year. I finished the year with 8 miniatures fewer than I started the year with despite accumulating plenty of new ones. What this means in practice is that I got rid of old stuff that I was never going to paint – mostly WHFB miniatures from 10-15+ years back – and replaced them with miniatures and scenery pieces that are much more likely to be painted.

I painted a grand total of 57 miniatures and scenery pieces. I could have done more, but to be honest this is one of my most productive years in a while. As before, I’m a fairly meticulous painter although I’m slowly learning to be a bit more relaxed, spending less time on areas that won’t be very visible on the miniature. Did you know that when I started out as a teen, I would paint the soles of minis’ feet – despite them getting glued to the base? So..yeah. The end of the year was more than a bit stressful, with loads of work and my father passing away after a long illness, so I’m happy that I still managed to find time for painting. To be honest, painting more and spending less time on Twitter probably would have helped with the stress.

I also experimented with some new painting techniques. Nothing drastic, I just wanted to push my painting a little. While I’m happy with my painting, I feel like I’ve been somewhat stuck for the past few years. I’m currently learning to work with thinner paints and washes a bit more than previously. Who knows, maybe I’ll even try a white or grey undercoat one of these days. It’s only been 15 years since the last time!

On the project front, it’s amazingly enough still pirates. Seriously, this has been pretty much my only project since 2015, and I’m still enthusiastic about it. I do paint the occasional RPG miniature, and we did paint some Battletech pieces which I should show in a future post! Still, it’s mostly pirates and other 17th/18th century types.

The biggest change in my hobby in 2019 was the introduction of 3d printing. I had always looked down on it a bit: layer lines from FDM machines were ugly, resin printers too expensive. Basically, I had locked my opinions in around 2015. However, when I started looking into it, I realized that times had indeed changed, progress had been made (quelle surprise!) and people were producing some wonderful pieces on their printers. My enthusiasm sparked, I bought an Anycubic Photon which turned out to be a great idea. Before I knew it, I was down the 3d printing rabbit hole. It wasn’t too long before I found myself wanting something a bit bigger for printing terrain, but surely an FDM printer would be too…yeah I bought one. As of December 23 2019, I’m a proud owner of a Lotmaxx SC-10 printer as well. It’s been running pretty much non-stop since then, and I’ll show some of the results in a later post.

The 3d printing stuff has brought a feeling of novelty to the hobby that I realized I’ve been missing a bit. There’s something in the tinkering and tweaking that makes me happy, as well as the possibilities afforded by new technology. All of a sudden all sorts of weird and wonderful things are within my reach – I can print my own ships, buildings and sea monsters, how cool is that?

Last but not least, I got to combine work and play in a fun way. As you might know, I’m a games researcher at Tampere University, and we had the wonderful idea of doing some research on miniaturing. More on that later as well – I’m actually about to become a published research on the miniaturing pastime. How cool is that!

For the past x years this blog has been going on fairly sporadically. I post far less than I used to, and sometimes there are long (, long, long) gaps between posts. I’m hoping to remedy this a bit this year! The blog isn’t going anywhere and I’m still quite motivated about it and a huge thank you for that is in order to the regular group of readers and commenters – you know who you are!

2020I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions, but on the hobby front a few are in order. So, in 2020 I want to:

  • Blog at least once per week two weeks
  • Paint at least 100 miniatures and scenery pieces
  • Get rid of at least 50 miniatures I don’t have a use for
  • Complete at least one major model or terrain piece
  • Learn at least one new painting technique
  • Give something back to the miniaturing community
  • Get at least a few games in
  • Learn to master my printers

These should take my hobby in the direction I want it to go: more activity, interaction with the community and honing my own skills.

Here’s to another year of hobby goodness, stay tuned and my sincere thanks for stopping by!

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Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas! You can click on the card to view a larger version.

 

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From the painting desk #68 – Another motley crew

December 23, 2019

Fighting the urge to present them as mötley crëw, here’s another batch of pirates – they never end, do they? This time it’s a mix of custom printed Heroforge pieces and miniatures I bought as physical objects. It’s funny how that has become a meaningful separation with the printer!

Click for a larger version

First up are the brothers Mulligan. They are Heroforge creations, as you can probably see. The thing I love about Heroforge (and I might have to make a separate post on this) is that you can create your own pieces and tell your own stories. In this case, we have the good brothers. While I’ve never given them first names, I imagine them as this Irish duo, a classic combination where one is a huge, burly brawler and the other a fast-talking gunslinger. To tie them together visually I painted both with pale skin and red hair, and I think it works pretty well.

Click for a larger version

Next we have the big swords. The woman on the left is another Heroforge piece, while the man is from Black Scorpion. While placing them side by side like this reveals the softer details of Heroforge pieces – especially compared to super crisp resin – I’m happy with both. Another thing in Heroforge’s favour is the control it gives you in customizing your minis. In this case I wanted a bit more diversity, so I wanted to create a female pirate who wasn’t whipcord-thin and abnormally busty. Instead I made a pirate that to my eye looks strong, with the heavy blade adding to the effect. I also gave her black African features.

Click for a larger version

The final pair of this post are a pirate lord from Reaper miniatures (sculpted by Bob Ridolfi) and a drunk pirate (sculpted by Evgenii Tkachenko) I found for free on Thingiverse. The pirate lord is especially lovely, a really characterful piece with his expensive clothing and flowing locks! I gave him a blue and yellow colour scheme, which made me instantly think of Sweden. Who knows, maybe he is a Swedish pirate lord. Painting Reaper miniatures always reminds me that I should paint more Reaper miniatures. The drunk pirate, despite the sculpt’s simplicity, manages to have character as well. There’s something about the pose that I really like, he looks very much like a henchman.

I’m usually not a huge fan of how my minis look in these portrait-style pictures, so I figured I might start setting them up in some more scenic shots in addition to the close-ups. So here you go, here’s the pirate lord addressing his motley crew. I think they look like a wonderfully interesting group. To me, this is what I want to achieve: tiny little narratives with colourful characters. I don’t really game with my minis, so these little stories are what makes stuff interesting for me.

Click for a larger version

As I’m writing this, my new printer – this time an FDM one for printing larger pieces – is on its way. Man oh man, this hobby never ceases to surprise me.

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Halloween 2019

November 23, 2019

Nowadays, I put on a Halloween game every year, and 2019 was no exception (you can check out previous games by clicking on the Halloween tag). There’s obviously always some sort of horror theme, and this year I went loosely with sharks. The concept of the game was simple: a pirate ship had been wrecked and it was up to the survivors, floating on debris, to race to the shore. Unfortunately for them there were plenty of sharks about. Oh and the Kraken.

The game itself was surprisingly good, if I may say so! The mechanics functioned really well, it was a close game in the finish, and everyone seemed to have a good time. There was even talk of maybe developing it further and turning it into an actual game. Who knows – I’ve long wanted to publish a game. Pirates were knocked off their rafts and eaten by sharks and the Kraken took the ship’s boy. As usual, shown below is a collection of photos taken by the players, I hope the feel of the game comes across!

And of course it wouldn’t be Halloween without themed foods, so…

Halloween is really fun evening for us every night. This year it however came at a cost: painting all those sharks means that I’ve been going “Baby shark do-doo-do-doddo-do” a lot. Oh well. Do-doo-do-doddo-do.

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