Posts Tagged ‘From the painting desk’

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From the painting desk #57 – Headless Horseman

November 6, 2017

While my little hollow on the internet has been a bit sleepy, I’ve nonetheless been working on things. We recently had our now-traditional Halloween game, and I finally finished the Headless Horseman miniature that I originally intended for the Halloween game of 2015. Better late than never, I’d say.

Picture of headless horseman miniature

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Picture of headless horseman miniature

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It isn’t much of a paintjob – I’m not a fan of painting black, and he was black, black, black. Being in a rush didn’t help things either! As usual for my Halloween games, I was painting him on the afternoon of the game day. To make up for the somewhat lacklustre painting, I put a bit of extra effort in the base, which I think improves him overall. I thought about doing some sort of ghostly effect on him, but decided against it in the end. A part of the Sleepy Hollow thing is that there’s always the chance it’s just someone pulling a prank, so I wanted to leave that in there.

The miniature is a decapitated British Legion Trooper from Front Rank’s American War of Independence range, coupled with one of Front Rank’s rearing horses. While I’m not completely happy with him, he does look the part of the Horseman, so I count that as a success.

Here are a few shots of the Horseman in action, the game was good fun! Photos by my friend Mia.

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Headless horseman miniature

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From the painting desk #56 – Dragon

September 9, 2017

There comes a time, when we heed a certain call

and we finally pick up that dragon that we bought when we were 20 or so.

This awesome dragon has been sitting in my cupboard for years and years and years and years. I originally bought it way back when I was designing my own Reign of Fire inspired skirmish game of dragons vs. humans. As the movie was released in 2002, I assume that’s pretty much when the dragon was bought – meaning it has sat unpainted for 15 years. That’s the time it takes for a newborn baby to grow up and go through the Finnish public education system, or for a 20 year old, fresh out of high school geek living with their parents to become a 35 year old dissertation writing geek. Time flies, doesn’t it?

This was the result of yet another Random Platypus painting challenge, this time titled Old and mouldy. It was intended for people to finish pieces that have been mouldering away, so this was a perfect pick. It is a Reaper Miniatures dragon sculpted by Sandra Garrity, and should you want one, it’s still in production. I loved it back then, I love it now. The pose is dynamic and very dragon-y and makes the creature very imposing.

I don’t paint dragons very often, so I wanted to have fun with this one. I wanted to capture the feel of the old red box Dungeons & Dragons cover art by Larry Elmore, with the red dragon leaning over its piles of gold. I’m sure you’ve seen it.

I had originally based him on a 40mm square base, which was pitifully small. I had also propped him up with a piece of wire. Those had to go, as I wanted a more impressive base. A I was documenting the process for the forum painting challenge, here is a before-and-after photo.

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The new base was a car mount for a cell phone holder – you can still make out the Nokia text in the centre. I had kept it lying around for ages, as you tend to do with stuff like this, in case it’s ever useful. The original store photos show the dragon leaning back on its tail, which I didn’t like. That’s probably why I propped it up with the wire originally. As I wanted to get rid of the wire, I had to gently bend the dragon forward to bring the balance up a bit. Once I’d done this, I pinned it to the base and secured it with ProCreate putty (not shown in the photo).

Painting the dragon was a fairly straightforward process. I knew that my patience for such a large piece would be limited, so I just washed and drybrushed away for the most part. I did do some layering on the belly, claws and teeth, but this was definitely not very delicate painting. The sculpt however is very forgiving, and I’m very pleased with the look.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Obviously the dragon needed treasure. I built small mounds out of ProCreate to represent piles of treasure, and sculpted in a bit of stonework to depict a dungeon floor. The treasure is painted ballast with some decorative jewel beads and painted over with cheap glitter nail polish – I definitely recommend both if you’re ever making miniature treasure stuff!

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There you have it! A dragon to look nice in my glass cabinet and hopefully to terrorize adventurers in years to come. It would only be fitting for him to actually make it to a game of Dungeons & Dragons, so dear GM, if you’re reading this…

Things have been quiet on the blog front lately, as I’m doing some home renovation stuff and that’s taking up a big part of my time. I’ve still been plodding away at miniatures stuff, so hopefully I can show some of those soon.

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From the painting desk #54 – Foul capitalist

July 12, 2017

I recently finished another civilian to inhabit Port George, a wealthy man from Blue Moon Manufacturing. He’ll likely be one of the main antagonists, a rich trader with ambitions for extending the sugar industry to Tyburn island. He’s another characterful sculpt, something I appreciate in Blue Moon’s output. His haughty, grumpy look fits the character concept well.

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I went for rich, clean colours to make him pop. As the red coat is reminiscent of the colour scheme of my soldiers, I threw in some additional colour to distinguish him from those.

While painting him, I had a very distinct mental image of the kind of person he is. A main inspiration is the character of Cary Warleggan from the highly recommended Poldark tv show. He’s a cruel, greedy banker and utterly despicable.

The picture says it all, really

My time here in Dublin is drawing to an end in a few weeks, and that’s crazy! Seems like we got here just a few weeks ago…

Oh yeah, the merchant is painted miniature #12 this year.

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From the painting desk #53 – A cloaker

June 25, 2017

Like most hobbyists (I assume), I tend to buy miniatures that I like. Why bother with rubbish, when I have a backlog of unpainted minis that I’ll never get through? Occasionally I will make an exception, though. This is one of those cases.

What is a “cloaker”? So nice of you to ask, it is a super silly, old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons monster. Its schtick? To disguise itself as a cloak. Quoting from Wikipedia:

The cloaker clings to a wall, hiding among actual cloaks and blankets, resembling a semi-circular cape with a long mace-like tail, and has two claws at the ends of the “cape”. Numerous round black, button-like eye spots help complete the illusion; when the cloaker conceals its tail and claws it is hard to distinguish it from a real cloak.

Yeah.

For the reason I ended up painting a cloaker, we have to backtrack several years. I tended to frequent the Frothers forum, where people would post new miniature releases for often harsh but honest commentary. Up came the Black Tree Design cloaker:

“Wear me, human.”

As you can see, the sculpt is a bit rough, to be extremely kind. From pretty much that day on, “cloaker” became shorthand for a terrible miniature – “That’s dire. A real cloaker.”

Skip forward years and years, and a discussion on the Random Platypus forum – a haunt of many former Frothers – starts. The forum has paint-alongs, where various members paint miniatures that fit a common theme (“Villain” or “Giant”) and share their progress. Thus began the cloaker paint-along.

I’ll be honest with you, the cloaker miniature is terrible. It’s soft, it looks unfinished, it has a weird lumpy base…yet there’s something there. It might be the goofiness of the concept, or the legendary status the miniature has attained, but there is something endearing about it.

The sculpt immediately made me think of this:

With that in mind, I went for a very traditional Dracula cape look, painting the inside a deep red and the rest of the cloak(er) black. As one description of the monster says its claws resemble a clasp made of bone, I painted the claws white. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination or a feature of the sculpt, but I saw a definite widow’s peak and painted that in to further enhance the Dracula look.

Click for a slightly larger version

My paintjob was fairly quick and rough. Yeah, it’s an endearing mini and all, but it was something of a chore to paint, as minis lacking definition can be. Still, I’m pretty happy with the result. With the concept, the big lumpy claws and the buckteeth it was never going to be menacing, so I gave it a goofy, somewhat awkward expression which I think turned out well. The deep red makes the inside look disturbingly fleshy.

So there you have it, a little cloaker of a cloaker and it’s funny and awful and glorious. I kind of love it.

Should you want one of your own, go get it here.

 

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From the painting desk #51 – Night watchman

May 19, 2017

Another painted mini, I’m on a roll! This time it’s another civilian, a night watchman from Blue Moon that I bought at Salute. I absolutely love the sculpt, as it has bags of character and great facial features. Additionally the model was one of those that pretty much paints itself and I feel like a produced a nice paintjob with very little work.

Click for a larger version

The model just really sparked my imagination. With his fairly dim lantern and suspicious expression, he’s the guy just about to be taken out after hearing a suspicious sound. In my head I’ve dubbed him Jenkins, for some reason. He’ll be a useful type to have around, whether it’s looking for smugglers, hunting vampires or expecting a pirate raid.

Continuing my efforts to improve my painting, I again paid special attention to the blending, and I think this is some of my smoothest work yet. After much deliberation I even painted some light OSL (object source lighting) effects on the cuff and sleeve of the lantern-carrying arm. Even those turned out nice. So, fun happy times all around!

This was this year’s eighth painted miniature.

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From the painting desk #50 – The Doctor

May 12, 2017

My 50th “From the painting desk” entry is another pirate – so no huge departure from what I’ve been doing for the past years. I was thinking of doing something special for the 50th post in the series (namely, featuring a dragon I painted recently), but life intervened so here we are!

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It’s a privateer from Black Scorpion. There’s really not much difference between a privateer and a pirate (and many swung between the two), so he’s a lovely fit. I love the model’s posing and general look, as he gives off a great stone-cold killer vibe. I’m planning to branch out into highwaymen at some point, and he’ll fit right in.

Again, I kept the palette toned down and gave the base the “pirate tufts” instead of the flowery ones used on civilians and soldiers. I’m not sure if it shows, but I used the model to practice blending. While I’m happy enough with my level of painting skill, I’ve not noticed much progress in the past years. With this in mind, I’ve begun to consciously learn new stuff – starting from something as elementary as blending. I’m quite happy with the result, and it feels nice to level up my painting a little. Work on this will continue!

My pirates will be taking on Paul’s samurai soon, so I’m currently painting up more pirates with muskets to teach him a lesson. As for the pirate’s name, he has spectacles. It’s obvious he’s a doctor, rather than a dubious marksman.

I think this is miniature #7 of the year, counting the dragon. I’m quite happy with my output here in Dublin so far, so this might actually be a fairly productive painting year!

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From the painting desk #49 – The Gentle Giant

May 8, 2017

When I was little, I was super into pro wrestling. Plenty of superstars stuck in my mind, and quite literally one of the biggest was the late, great André the Giant. While he was a pro wrestling superstar, many also know him from his role as Fezzik in the film Princess Bride. When I saw that Antediluvian Miniatures was releasing a pack of pirates with some very familiar character, I didn’t hesitate to pick them up. It’s great to be able to sort of pay tribute to a childhood hero.

Click for a larger version

It’s a lovely, lovely sculpt and a great likeness. In keeping with the subject matter, he stands head and shoulders over regular 28mm minis. I kept the palette very simple and muted to suggest an unassuming personality, and I think the end result is pretty fitting. The base colour for the pants is Reaper Miniatures’ Master Series HD Rusty Red, and the reason I’m mentioning it is because it’s an awesome paint. Plenty of pigment, great coverage and it’s a lovely shade of…well, rusty red.

In my Port George narrative, Big André is the town’s heavy lifter and odd job man, breaking up fights as a tavern bouncer, hauling crates aboard ships and carrying logwood. While both the various pirate captains and the Port George well-to-do have tried to recruit him as a bodyguard, Big André prefers a modest life of peaceful propriety.

We’re settling in Dublin, and I’ve finally set up the limited painting gear I brought along. Note the street-credible water pot I made from a food tin!

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