Posts Tagged ‘From the painting desk’

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From the painting desk #73 – Odds and sods

September 19, 2020

 

I’ve been painting a fair bit of smallish stuff in the past months, scatter scenics mostly. Barrels, crates and the like are something that I can paint without devoting too much attention to them, they’re good for getting the “models painted” counter up and allow me to retain some painting mojo even on those days when it’s just not quite there. As my blogging has stalled a bit, I figured it would be fun to show of some of this stuff.

These small pieces have been a great way to test out Citadel Contrast paints too, which I’m liking more and more. With a barrel or crate, who cares if it gets a bit messy – speed is key here.

These trade goods were both designed and printed by yours truly. I’m pretty proud that I can actually create something that in my not so humble opinion looks very professional.

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This is a gibbet (labeled a “hanging cage”) from WizKids, a part of their Deep Cuts range. Although you can’t really see it in the photo, there’s a little guy in there. I originally added a raven sitting on top of the gibbet, but managed to snap its tiny resin legs, so no luck there.

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This rowboat is from the Depths of Savage Atoll Kickstarter, and printed on my FDM machine. It’s simple and easy to use in multiple settings, and the photo angle conveniently hides minor printing issues.

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I can’t recall where I bought these resin pieces. They’re nice enough designs, but casting quality was awful – I had to spend quite a bit of time greenstuffing things up, and I pretty much painted these to be rid of them.

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Here are two tree stumps that I got off Thingiverse. In the middle is a giant snake wrapped around another tree stump. The snake is another Depths of Savage Atoll piece, and printed by me in resin.

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As these sort of photos can get a little boring, and I wanted a bit of photo play, I decided to stage some photos of them “in action”. This also gave me a chance to test my new photo backdrop, that I created from a cheap home decoration sticker – I think it works pretty well!

“Well gentlemen, these will fetch a tidy sum back in England.”

“You ever think about going pirate, George?”
“Nah, just look at this wretch here.”

“They say she can talk to snakes. Then again, they say a lot of things.”

Here’s hoping my next post is a bit sooner than a month from now. It’s been grant application writing season here, so not much time for anything fun. It’s letting up now, though, so time to get those brushes moving!

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From the painting desk #72 – A little bit of everything

April 16, 2020

While I had originally planned to make posts of these minis piecemeal, I figured that it would simply lead to most of them never getting displayed. As a result, this post features a pretty mixed selection of miniatures, but I’m sure that just makes it more entertaining!

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Up first is a pair of pirates, consisting of a barber surgeon from Black Cat Bases and Esmerelda, a pirate lady from Black Scorpion. While stylistically very different, both were enjoyable to paint and make for nice additions to my pirate crews. I’m especially happy with the surgeon, who I think looks a bit like an annoyed Billy Connolly. As with some other Black Scorpion female minis, I painted the legs to suggest very tight pants instead of the cool pirate lady wearing a loincloth and boots. For some reason I never have to do this with male miniatures, who knew!

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Onto the monkeys! A fair few miniature manufacturers make monkey miniatures as part of their pirate lines, and I’m happy to collect them. The monkey wearing a bicorne is another Black Scorpion sculpt that I picked up at Salute last year. The monkey sitting on a barrel is another 3d print from Depths of Savage Atoll. As one of my early test prints, the quality isn’t perfect and I already considered throwing the mini way. I didn’t have the heart to do it though, and after a bit of paint I think it turned out fine. Both of these were simple sculpts and easy to paint, and I’m really pleased with the end results. As for how I’ll use them, no idea whatsoever.

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Rounding out this post are two very characterful pirates. The first one is a custom Hero Forge piece I printed, who I’m calling Smith of Bristol. Now, to anyone not familiar with the Dubliners song of the same name, it tells the story of a daring pirate who goes around a-plunderin’ and a-robbin’, before finally being killed by a Spanish bullet. The twist of the song follows this, with the lines “he was only ninety-seven/but his soul had gone to heaven”, which I’ve always found hilarious. So, long story short, here’s a sprightly old pirate! If you want to listen to the song, I’ve embedded it below.

The second miniature is another one with some story behind him. He’s Tijl Uilenspiegel, an exclusive miniature from the Crisis wargaming show in Antwerp. Originally Tijl, known in English as Till Owlglass, is a 16th (or possibly 15th or even earlier) century trickster figure. As Wikipedia informs us:

Many of Till’s pranks are scatological in nature, and involve tricking people into touching, smelling, or even eating Till’s excrement. Scatological stories abound, beginning with Till’s early childhood (in which he rides behind his father and exposes his rear-end to the townspeople) and persisting until his death bed (where he tricks a priest into soiling his hands with feces).

An excellent character, in other words! While I don’t think my pirate version of him is quite this feces-focused, the sculpt is great. Paul Hicks has sculpted a wonderful expression on the mini, and I tried to reflect this when painting the eyes. I think he does look a bit…trickstery.

While all of these would technically qualify for Ann’s “Paint the crap you already own!” challenge, Tijl Uilenspiegel is the one mini I had in mind when I decided to participate in the challenge. He’s a sad case of “Oooh I really want that, what a cool mini, better let him sit in a box for a year or two” so I’m happy that he’s finished!

With all this painted stuff, I’m at 12/100 for my painting goal of 100 pieces this year. With a third of the year gone – not great, not terrible. Still, with a bunch of easy to paint terrain pieces and the like in the near future, I’m still optimistic!

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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

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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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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.

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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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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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From the painting desk #67 – A piratical assortment

October 12, 2019

While I’ve been printing a lot more than painting recently, I’ve still managed to complete some pieces! I’m definitely seeing a risk here, though – printing is fun in itself, but it’s also adding stuff to the painting pile something fierce.

I recently read a book on Barbary pirates. Or rather, make that two books (both are very interesting, and well worth your time by the way). While I’ve thus far been mostly interested in pirates of the Caribbean variety, I must say that a little foray into the Mediterranean and North Africa does tempt me a bit! Luckily I had a couple of Barbary style pirates from Foundry kicking about, so these went on the table.

Foundry 28mm barbary pirates

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These two miniatures offered me the chance to use quite a colourful palette, so I threw in some turquoise and rich purple. I wanted these two to stand out a bit from my other pirates, many of which I’ve painted in more muted tones. For the skin tones I went for a bit darker look than usual. As with most of the Foundry pirates, these were fun and easy to paint and turned out pretty nice!

The next three pieces are printed ones from the Depths of Savage Atoll Kickstarter that I’ve mentioned quite a few times by now. They were very much test prints, so they have some minor issues such as some lines on the pirate’s blade and some soft detail on the parrot, but I didn’t want to throw them away. Waste not, want not and all that.

Depths of Savage Atoll miniatures

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From left to right (if it wasn’t obvious) there’s a parrot, a hulking pirate and a strongbox. Parrots are obviously iconic in a pirate setting, and I decided to paint this one as something instantly recognizable, a scarlet macaw. It was a great chance to break out some really bright and lovely colours, and I’m really happy with the end result.

The big pirate didn’t really impress me initially, but once I started painting the mini I quickly warmed up to it. In my project to overcome my freehand painting aversion, I put some tattoos on him to add some interest to those large skin areas. I could’ve gone for more intricate designs, but I’m quite happy with how these simple pieces look. I wanted them to look faded and a bit rough, which also makes them more forgiving.

The third piece is a strongbox. At least that’s what I painted it as, all steel and brass. It wouldn’t be difficult to paint it as an actual octopus on a wooden crate, but I wanted a kind of Pirates of Caribbean mystery chest vibe – a piece you could build a scenario around.

I’m looking to get some more painting done this weekend, stay tuned for when I post about them…in December, knowing myself.

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From the painting desk #66 – Gun battery

August 4, 2019

A little over a year back I got in on the Slug Industries Spanish fort Kickstarter and I’m happy to report that I’ve finally finished one of the pieces from it – a separate gun battery. I think the gun battery is a very iconic part of Caribbean pirate imagery, guarding those ports and looking menacing.

The paint job was a mixture of stippling, washing and drybrushing, and I probably should have kept notes as the fort itself will inevitably look different. I wanted a fairly light look, leaning more to brown and yellow than dark grey, and I’m quite happy with it.

You obviously can’t have a gun battery without guns, so I painted three cannon from Thomarillion to go with it. These were a right bastard to paint, mainly because I didn’t spray prime them, leading to those super annoying tiny tiny spots of bright unpainted metal hiding in nooks and crannies that you only spot when you think the mini is finished. As they are quite ornate pieces, I decided to paint them as bronze cannon and I think the effect is nice, I’m really happy with the tone!

Having started painting cannon, I came across a piece that I built during the very early days of my pirate project, four years back. As some faithful readers might remember, this is of course the Cagafuego which finally got painted. A massive, old WHFB Empire cannon on a scratch-built naval carriage, the Cagafuego makes for a nice centrepiece to the gun battery when heavier firepower (or plain old intimidation) is needed.

I was in a bit of a rush and photography is a little off as a result. I set up both a vanilla version with the regular cannon and a pirate-crewed Cagafuego version for some atmospheric shots.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Finishing this piece was a nice thing in many ways: there’s always a sense of accomplishment when you get a big item out of your painting queue, it was surprisingly quickly done (I spent one evening on it), it looks pretty Azazely awesome on the table and if I ever want to run a game, it’s a very playable piece for a scenario. Job well done, me!

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From the painting desk #65 – The Kraken Arms

July 22, 2019

Every pirate town needs a tavern, obviously. While I originally bought a Warbases modular building for this very purpose, it was when I came across a Citadel Lake-town house from the dreadful Hobbit films that I knew I’d found my tavern.

It’s a lovely piece of plastic kit that can be assembled in a couple of different configurations. I put it together to minimize the fantasy/medieval/Tudor aspects to keep it in line with the rest of my pirate buildings. In addition to the building itself, there are four pieces of jetty, a larger jetty platform for the building to sit on and an outhouse. There’s also a small rowboat that I haven’t painted yet.

My paintjob for both the jetty pieces and the building followed my usual formula, with a heavy reliance on washes and drybrushing. I went with a muted blue for the tavern itself with green for the door and window frames and some yellow curtains to add a splash of colour. I made the outhouse a very worn green. As you might notice, I couldn’t be bothered to shoot the tavern from every angle, but rather just rotated the building to show its different sides. Click on any photo for a larger view.

A shot of the full kit, showing the modularity

The kit is full of nice detail like this

An aerial view of the tavern

Wouldn’t swim nearby

Brighten up your tavern with some fresh mustard yellow curtains!

There was one part of the painting process that I had been dreading for a while: freehanding the tavern sign. While I’m happy with my painting skills when it comes to miniatures, I consider myself to be somewhat rubbish when it comes to freehanding anything more complicated than very simple glyphs or the like. Still, I wanted a tavern sign matching the tavern’s name – dubbed The Kraken Arms by this point – so it was time to grit my teeth and freehand an octopus. Quite surprisingly, it turned out pretty nice! In fact, nice enough for me to duplicate it on the other side of the sign as well. The sides are not identical, but very much passable. Did you know, by the way, that octopi do not in fact have tentacles, but arms? See, punny and scientifically correct.

Behold the mighty Kraken with its fairly cute little button eyes

Obviously you can’t have a tavern without people to run it. I had plenty of  potential customers in the form of grog-thirsty pirates, but an innkeeper was needed. I had luckily picked up a suitable mini (along with his wife) from Black Cat Bases some time back, so it was time to get them painted. I had a suitable Front Rank miniature lined up as well, so I decided to finish him too. I also asked Emmi to pick a mini for me to paint and she happened to pick out one from Black Tree Design’s Pirates of Treasure Island line that was very well suited to the surroundings so I’ll show him in this post while I’m at it.

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Click for a larger version

This lot was really fun to paint! I’m a big fan of Black Cat Bases’ large, cartoonish style as well as Front Rank’s clean and simple elegance. The Black Tree Design pirate – the first from their Kickstarter that I’ve painted – took paint very nicely too. I love models like this with a limited number of elements, common in historical miniatures I think. A lot of fantasy stuff tends to be drowned in hundreds of buckles, straps, pouches, bags, daggers, more buckles and the like, and they get pushed back in the painting queue. Considering my backlog and slow painting speed, that is a long, long queue.

The innkeeper, wife and old pirate are obvious, but what do you think about the tubby man with the pewter tankard? Wealthy patron or greedy landlord?

I had a good time painting this lot, so I’m happy to enter them into Azazel’s Jewel of July community challenge! I need to do this kind of thematic thing more often, I think.

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From the painting desk #64 – An eclectic mix

May 11, 2019

I’ve been on a bit of a painting kick lately, so I’ve got a grand total of five new minis to show you! Funnily enough they’re from five different companies too, which goes to show that I don’t mind mixing ranges and manufacturers in my project. It’s been good having some painting mojo back – painting has felt really fun and I’m pleased with the results I’m getting. As for the minis, here we go!

Black Cat Bases African lady

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First up is an African lady by CP Models that I picked up in a Bad Squiddo sale. I kept the palette super simple and tried a tone I hadn’t really used before in the pale green. I think it turned out really nice and I’ll be sure to use that tone later on as well. A neat, simple model, she’ll work well as a generic civilian in the West Indies.

Black Cat Bases pirate queen

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Next up is a pirate queen from Black Cat Bases. Nice and characterful, she was a joy to paint. To go for much bolder colours, I drew inspiration from one of my favourite pro wrestlers, the pirate princess Kairi Sane, and went with an almost white overcoat with blue cuffs, and a blue tricorne with gold trim and a white feather. While I tried to keep it from going too over the top, I think the end result is a suitably ostentatious pirate lady.

Freebooter's Fate Tiradora

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The next mini I completed is a recent Salute purchase, a Freebooter’s Fate mini by the name of Tiradora (which is just Spanish for “female shooter”, so not really a name at all). This was the first Freebooter’s Fate mini I’ve painted, and I’m quite impressed! Crisp detail and nice smooth surfaces made this a joy to paint. While the catalogue mini was painted white, to me the mini looked obviously African, so I went with a dark brown skintone. Another mini I’m happy with!

Citadel townsfolk brawler

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Sometimes you end up painting old stuff, and that makes me feel warm inside. This model is an old Citadel one from the 1987 Travelling Players set. When this model was released, I was five years old and Emmi wasn’t even born yet. There’s something really cool about that. I’ve actually had this mini for a while, as he used to be a part of my WHFB Empire army. One day I just figured that he might fit in well with my pirates, so I stripped him of his old paintjob and did a quick repaint. As his facial features sort of suggested it and I had been painting brown-skinned minis, I figured I’d paint him with darker skin too, and I think it looks good! You may notice that his basing with the flowers suggests that he isn’t a part of the pirates or the maroons faction, but rather a member of my townsfolk. I’m thinking that he maybe works on the docks (and now I’ve got Bon Jovi stuck in my head, it’s tough) or is the bouncer for the local tavern.

Black Scorpion pirate

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My last entry in this post is a mini I’ve wanted to paint a long time. As I’ve been thinking about the various characters that inhabit Tyburn Island, one that has been firmly lodged in my head is a hired sword nicknamed “The Razor of Nassau”. Don’t ask me where it came from, but it’s this guy. I love this mini, he just oozes menace and has that gunslinger vibe about him. To go with this, I painted him in full but worn black, with a red sash for some visual contrast.

I’m happy with this lot for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s nice to get stuff painted as it’s been quite a thin year so far. Secondly, this batch turned out quite diverse – a couple of females and not everyone’s white. It’s not a huge thing, but it’s fun on both a visual level and out of principle too. I’ve got more stuff lined up too, so..yeah, cool!

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From the painting desk #63 – It’s…pirates!

March 30, 2019

Finally more painted pirates! These have been on the bench for a while, and they’re pretty much the first miniatures I’ve painted all year. While I’ve done some terrain building and painting, minis have fallen by the wayside a bit. This should be rectified shortly, as I’ve promised to paint up some stuff for Salute, and that’s exactly a week away.

Foundry maroon with Black Scorpion pirate

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Another maroon from Foundry, I love these guys and I’ve painted a couple before. Simple, elegant sculpt, simple, not so elegant paintjob. It does the trick though! I asked Emmi to pick the colours, which was surprisingly fun. I notice myself going back to tried and true combinations of colours, which can mean things getting a bit samey – I can’t remember how many times I’ve used the combination of Vallejo Khaki and Vallejo Cayman Green. What can I say, they’re lovely, muted tones with awesome coverage.

The second one is a pirate from Black Scorpion, with a massive axe and some equally massive mutton chops. He’s somewhat reminiscent of Mr. Gibbs from the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and I’m sure I’ve seen him used as a proxy somewhere. Funnily enough considering the previous paragraph, his vest is Vallejo Cayman Green and his trousers are Vallejo Khaki, what do you know!

I’m super stoked about going to Salute! It’s become a yearly tradition by now, and very much a social event and a great chance to meet all the lovely folks I’ve befriended over the years in this hobby. This year I’m looking forward to bumping into Alex of Leadballoony fame as well as spending time with the nice people from the Random Platypus forum. After Salute we’re heading up north for a hundred miles of hiking along the Pennine Way, which I’m possibly even more stoked about. This will likely mean that the blog will be dormant for a couple of weeks, although considering my rapid-fire posting, you won’t be able to tell any difference.

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