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2016-06-02 10:42 pm
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I know, four posts in one week!

I got together with some of my fellow gamers last weekend and we spent a couple of afternoons painting up our Pathfinder figures. It's been a while since I did any painting, so I'm a bit rusty; we had to throw out a lot of paints/glues/etc. Some pics of mine:

This is Nura, freshly undercoated. You can read more of her adventures here. In-game Nura has just hit level 3 and is pretty much broke, having blown most of her money buying spells from kobolds, but this version has a bigger wardrobe budget.

I picked this figure mostly because the clothes were a bit more interesting than what I normally see on female caster figures, which is either "generic robes" or "as little as possible". Perhaps not the most practical for tromping around dungeons, but Nura has magical cleaning spells and strong friends to do the heavy lifting.

Figure cleaned up and undercoated:


Base colours on:


(Looking back at the photo on the Reaper catalogue, apart from being consumed with envy for anybody who can paint that sort of detail on a 30mm figure, I note that I've interpreted her clothes a bit differently, as far as which bits are outer vs under layers etc. Oh well.)

Just after inking her skin:


seriously, the main thing I have learned in my time painting figures is INK ALL THE THINGS THEN INK THEM SOME MORE. I have no patience for painstaking highlighting; the right ink can really bring out details very quickly. At least, as long as the sculptor has done a good job in the first place; if the shape is bad, ink will emphasise that too.

Nura's dress, after highlighting/drybrushing:


...okay, so I'm not completely against highlighting, there's a time and a place for it, and the drape-y dress was a big part of why I bought this figure in the first place so it makes sense to put in some effort here.

The violet-magenta contrast is a bit stronger than I'd normally do for highlighting, but in this case I figure she's wearing something like shot silk. I realised halfway through painting that I didn't have any light blues to highlight the blue portion, so instead I mixed one of the darker ones with yellow for the green highlight you can see here; again, call it shot silk or mageweave or whatever.

Front-on, mostly finished:

And after doing the eyes. Usually I'd ink, then paint the sclera white, then dot the pupils with a felt-tip; this is really fiddly and often requires doing over and over. This time around, the ink gave enough contrast between her eyes and the shaded surrounds that I was able to skip the middle step and go straight to the dotting.


There are a few bits I want to touch up before I varnish, but I'm pretty pleased with how it's coming along so far.
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2011-12-18 10:22 pm
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Modelling project - 40K Predator 'Montresor'

Finished my latest 40K project, a Raven Guard Predator with magnets for interchangeable options.

Raven Guard Predator 'Montresor'

(click for more pics)

This one took me quite a while - it's the first vehicle I've built, and the first one I've magnetised, so there was a bit of trial and error involved. The biggest lesson was that rare-earth magnets can pull hard enough to break the glue I was using to attach them... much re-gluing involved there. The camouflage pattern also took a while to paint, although it reduced the need for highlighting etc.

As always, Rey acted as my Painting Beta, and caught a couple of things that needed fixing. My unfavourite part of painting is anything requiring neat shapes (insignia, lettering), so I tried to keep the lettering as simple as possible, but it still looked a bit amateurish. She suggested adding serifs, and it looked MUCH better afterwards. Lesson learned: sometimes more is easier. It also took a couple of tries to get the mud right.

Now to figure out how to transport it safely. And buy some new brushes, because several of mine gave up the ghost while I was painting this one.
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2011-10-09 11:53 am
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My father-in-law got a new camera and gave us his old one, so at last I have something with a decent macro mode. I've created a new Flickr account (since I got locked out of the old one) and have posted up some pics of gaming miniatures.


Unfortunately many of them are still blurry in close-up (not the camera's fault - more to do with lighting and absence of tripod + my shaky hands). But some turned out better than I'd expected.

Squigs, dryads, Genestealers, and Sir Stephen )
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2011-09-28 11:03 pm
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Painting: self-discovery

Three moments of self-discovery while painting wargaming stuff:

- I always feel guilty about drybrushing. It's a useful Lazy Painter technique (probably my second favourite, after inking, and it looks good) but I can't quite forget that the brush I'm destroying used to be a good one. It's sort of a "the crack-voiced lush begging in the street used to be the leading lady of her day" vibe, only with paintbrushes. Erm.
- As much as I fear trying to draw symbols freehand, I dislike using waterslide decals even more. They wrinkle something awful when applied to a curved surface (which it almost always is), and they fall off at the slightest touch.
- When forced to draw freehand, I'm not actually as awful as I think I am. It's not perfect, but I think the not-quite-flatness of the decals looks worse than the imperfections in my freehand.

And, miracle of miracles, in the last month-ish I've actually painted ten more figures than I've bought. (OK, discounting a bunch I bought to use for parts, since I don't intend to paint them as-is.)
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2011-07-31 05:31 pm
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(no subject)

After several rounds of "that would look lovely *paint paint paint* NO IT'S RUBBISH" I finally seem to have hit on a colour scheme for my Tyranids. Posting this mostly for my own benefit:

So I can remember how to replicate it. )

*In theory, I'd like to actually use these guys for a game of 40K one day. In practice, it takes longer for me to assemble a small portion of a 40K army than it does for Games Workshop to put out a new edition of the rules. By the time I have either my Tyranids or my Raven Guard anywhere near complete, it'll probably be Warhammer 45K or so.

**Canonically, the 'nids have both. I like this idea, so I emphasise it by making the two look very different - chitin for the exoskeleton, more of a bone look for the endo-.
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2011-07-27 10:16 am
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(no subject)

Yesterday, I flocked my squigs.

Don't judge me.
lederhosen: (Default)
2008-09-17 07:15 pm
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Because I love you all!

I like this figure.

Edit: If link doesn't work properly, just scroll down to the search box on the bottom left and enter 'hamster'.
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2008-07-15 01:32 am
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(no subject)

I'd be tempted to say "I'm never painting fishnets on an ogre again", but the thing is, I have a second copy of that figure somewhere around.

(Head-thumpy moment: drawing the fishnets on with a felt-tip, with great difficulty since some of them are rather tricky to reach, then using an ink wash to shade the flesh around them, and discovering that the solvent in the wash also dissolves the ink I'd been using to do the fishnets.)

Anyway, it looks good now, and I remembered an important painting trick from Johann the Necromancer: an awful lot of imperfections can be hidden simply by adding dirt and grime to the model. And if an ogre can't be grimy then who can?
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2008-02-28 09:19 pm
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Painting notes: Marine scouts

Painted up a squad of 40K Marine scouts (just awaiting some finishing touches). Notes to self:

- Yes, Raven Guard have a nice simple colour scheme that simplifies painting, but this is balanced out by the fact that GW don't make transfers for them. After looking at some painting tips, I may be able to manage a stylised raven. (And I only need to do it for two of the scouts, since the rest have cloaks covering their shoulder guards... once I get on to the other Marines, it'll be a different story.)

- Speaking of cloaks, these worked pretty well if I say so myself. I wanted a camo pattern, but it needed to fit in with the chapter's colour scheme - Marines tend to be proud of their colours, and while the Raven Guard are more enthusiastic about stealth than most of their brethren, I can't see them wearing bright desert camo. Also, it needed to be simple enough that I could paint it quickly, and keep it consistent. What I ended up with: black base coat, then vertically-oriented diamonds of Model Color's Dark Grey, then randomly-oriented short lines of London Grey (slightly lighter grey, still fairly dark). End result is a dappled shadowy look that should fit in most settings; I then highlighted the most prominent bits with more of the Dark Grey, and brushed on brown 'mud' around the edges.

- Bases: Filler sanded and painted in burnt umber and then brushed with a lighter brown, so it could be seen as either mud or rock. Scenic grass added (the tall stuff), which made them look like they were skulking and had the unintended benefit of concealing the bits on the legs where I'd skimped on detail.

- Missile launcher: Painted in the same camo colours (but not the same pattern - here I just went for random blotches). I wanted this to look like it'd been banged around and dragged through bushes etc, so I brushed over the more prominent bits with metal for that 'paint scraped off' look.

- Faces: Always fiddly, these, and when I'm doing a squad of five I don't want to spend forever trying to get the details right. The fluff tells me that the Raven Guard Marines get paler and paler as they age; the Scouts are among the youngest, but I still thought they should be a bit paler then usual. So I went with Game Colour 'Elfic Flesh' (the lightest flesh paint I have - practically an off-white) and then brushed over them with Reaper Flesh Wash. This came out about right (Rey's comment on seeing them was "they're a bit too pale", which was just what I was aiming for ;-) and I just went over the eyes with Elfic again before dotting them with a smidgin of black.

The end result amused me; the ones on the box just have standard Space Marine faces, and one of mine has a similar 'hardened soldier' look. But for some reason, one of the others is wearing an expression that can only be described as "OH MY GOD IT'S COMING RIGHT FOR US!"

- Night-vision goggles. I know that real night-vision goggles do not glow on the front side (and if they did, they'd make their users stand out like a beacon) but dammit, it looks cool. Horrendous light yellow-green, followed up with green ink. Same effect for the back end of their rifle scopes, although this is barely visible once they're put together; for the front of the scopes, I just used the same light grey/black wash that worked so nicely for the telescope on my cottage.
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2008-02-15 06:03 pm
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Latin translations needed

So, I decided to do up a Space Marine force for Warhammer 40K (yes, I'm a nerd) and after resolving to do something with a nice bright colour scheme, went looking through the fluff to find a chapter I liked. So of course I ended up with the Raven Guard, whose colour scheme is exactly what you'd expect from a chapter based on Edgar Allan Poe's best-known work.

Anyway, somewhere along the line I'll be doing some back banners for them, and it occurred to me that they need mottoes. For reasons beyond my ken, the language spoken by the genetically-engineered supermen of the far future is Latin, which presents the irresistible temptation for bad in-jokes. The only problem is, I've forgotten most of the Latin I ever knew.

So, anybody able to provide translations for the following? Preferably terse, since they need to fit on smallish banners, and I'd rather avoid versions that could be mistaken for racial epithets.

For the No. 1: "Dye it black!"
For the scouts: "Do Your Best" and "Made With Real Scouts".
For (not yet decided): "How much more black could it be?" and "None more black".
For the Dreadnought: "Caw! Caw! Bang! [profane expression of surprise and vexation!] I'm dead!" (I'm guessing this might not be practical, but worth a shot.)

Other suggestions for bad jokes welcome...
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2008-01-07 08:58 pm
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So that's what one of those is like.

Poor design decisions:

"The vulnerability [in the new Boeing Dreamliner] comes from having the plane's in-flight internet access computer system connected to the plane's flight-safety, control and navigation network."

Had a quiet weekend at home. Did not go anywhere, except to do a small amount of shopping. Did not do anything, other than a couple of loads of washing. Spent the rest of the weekend reading and painting a Tyranid.

Painting notes: chitin = gloss black base, painted over with 3:1 chaos black/red metallic, then highlighted with a 1:1 mix and drybrushed with unmixed red metallic. Worked out rather nicely - that little bit of metallic makes it look something like a glossy beetle shell.

Fleshy bits: deep sea blue, highlighted with violet (looked nice), then highlighted again with blue-violet* and suddenly it looked awful. Cringed at the thought of repainting the whole thing, then fell back on 'slather the whole thing with Chestnut Ink'. And suddenly it looked good again.

Slimy bits to cover up some gribbly putty work: Emerald Green ink. Also used for the saliva.

...I really need to get a camera with a macro zoom. I'm fairly pleased with this one - it looks ferocious and yet pretty.

Meanwhile, bloody hot here - painting under lights didn't help either. I had a fan on, but between the heat and the fan it makes the paint dry very quickly on the brush, and also the fan blows tiny bits of fluff everywhere.

*Which is for some reason less blue than 'violet' is.
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2007-12-02 06:42 pm
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Painting notes: GW chapel

Finished painting up the GW chapel set today. Notes so I can remember how I did stuff:

- Shading on the walls: didn't work so well. I haven't painted a building before so this was a bit of an experiment, and I think I need to either use more intermediate shades or keep most of it a flat colour with just a narrow belt of shading and a few highlights.
- Slate roof: worked reasonably well. Reaper blue-black, black ink, another coat of blue-black over the top, then brushing with Shadow Grey (which is really a blue-grey), and then light brushing with Space Wolves Grey. Might look better if I picked out a few tiles to paint in slightly different shades, to make the tiles a little less regular.
- Statues with verdigris: quite good on their own, not sure they quite go with the rest of the building (perhaps needed a bit of black ink to grime them up a bit?) Bronze, brushed with Mint Green satin (this is runny so it naturally flows into the niches etc), then brushed over again with bronze.''

Oh, and... next time, paint the wretched things SEPARATELY and glue them onto the building afterwards, because trying to paint the fiddly bits that are just visible behind them is a pain.

- Lanterns: worked very nicely. Bronze for the metal frame and a white base for the glass bits, then satins on the glass: Gold Silk at the middle, working out through Mandarin Orange to Fire Glow. Then clean up the bits of bronze facing away from the glass; the ones nearest don't matter so much, since it just looks like they're catching the light. A little bit of black ink on the exposed surfaces that are out of the light (basically, reversing the usual highlighting process) and then brush nearby metallic surfaces on the building with Fire Glow (and very light brushing on the slate - I ended up wiping it off again to leave just a tiny bit) to look like reflection from the lanterns.
- Model fits together better than most GW kits, but seam lines still visible on the joins even after lots of gap-filler and shaving with a scalpel to smooth them out a bit. Could probably have covered them up better with some putty work, but life's too short.

At some stage I should paint up the telescope and glue that into the window, but it'll do for now.

Also, picked up the Church's singles collection... om nom nom.
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2007-03-01 09:11 pm
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It's that time again... the time when I upload a bunch of photos and clear out the camera. Some cute dog pictures and a lot of modelling ones (not the sort where I take my clothes off, the sort where I build things out of foamcore).

Cut for lots of photos. )
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2007-02-11 02:03 pm

Gaming stuff

Annoyed a couple of weeks back: one of the NPCs in my D&D campaign is a priestess somewhere in her sixties. I wanted to paint up a figure for her, so I went by Mind Games in Melbourne to look through the miniatures...

It's always been easy enough to find female figures, of course. Granted, the ones who don't look like pole-dancers from a fantasy-themed 'gentlemen's club' are still a minority, but these days it's a large enough minority to offer a lot of choice. If you want a sensibly-armoured woman holding a mace, you should be able to find one.

If you want a woman over the age of fifty - or even thirty - that's quite another matter. There are, of course, any number of old men, ranging from a hundred and one Gandalf wannabes to any number of grizzled generals. But as for human women... a couple of Wicked Witches, and that's pretty much it.

This bemuses me. Some of the most memorable people I've met IRL have been grand old women. Even in fantasy novels, Tolkien excepted, there are quite a few. And the number of female warriors/mages/etc suggests that there must be plenty of openings for them in people's gaming universes... so what happens to them after they hit thirty? Do they all sprain their ankles and retire from adventuring? Do all those queens and princesses grow less powerful and important with age? Or have the Men of Gor stolen them all by then? In the end I went with one of the Ragnarok figures - a priestess who wears a full-face mask, so at least her age is ambiguous. For this particular character, that might make sense, but it's not really a universal solution.

And now that I'm done ranting, miscellaneous campaign fluff from my game. )

Oh, and: exercise since last: 40km, total 560km/336mi: 5th day from Weathertop. Slacked off during January, trying to get back into it now. Got 16km done while watching Day of the Jackal, which is still a good movie after all these years. Along with Princess Bride, one of the very few book-to-film adaptations that stand up alongside the original.
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2006-12-04 11:06 pm
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Yay pond scum!

Have been working on a terrain piece for our D&D game: a stretch of river. So far, the process goes like this:

Aargh! )
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2006-03-16 10:37 am
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Dwarven Forge stuff

Paging [livejournal.com profile] silverblue and [livejournal.com profile] brandtotter especially:

Dwarven Forge have a shiny new set up for pre-orders, and they're offering a $40 discount if you order three of them. I can't quite justify ordering three just for myself, but I'd certainly be interested in one, maybe two - anybody else in .au want to put in a combined order, and split the discount accordingly?


Edit: With shipping & discount, total price for three sets looks like being US$584, or a little under US$200/set; at that price, I'd probably just get one for myself, so I'm looking for two other buyers.
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2006-01-29 03:39 pm
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Miniatures pics

[livejournal.com profile] sarin_girl came over on Thursday night with food and her Fearsome Camera, and she and [livejournal.com profile] reynardo took some photos of the collection. Yay! The figures came out a little dark - I think we need to use a darker background next time - but this is much better than the pics I got before.

Some of the highlights, cut for images: )

Many more, with some commentary, up on my Flickr page where the above are hosted. The photos and commentary are in reverse order, because I'm incompetent :-)
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2006-01-22 12:30 pm
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Painting serendipity

I tend not to do too much planning ahead when I'm painting models. I'll have a vague idea of what I'm trying to do, but a lot of the time I'll muck around with stuff, see if it works, and paint over it if it doesn't. And sometimes the best ones don't turn out at all like I'd expected.

Most recent project was a Rackham figure. I don't buy Rackham very often - the local shops don't carry them, and I have to be slightly more careful working with them because they do contain lead. But they produce some beautiful miniatures. This particular one is a fire elemental; as usual, the catalogue model is gorgeously painted (it's worth poking around the site a bit, some real visual treats there).

But I have several fire elementals already, and this one wanted to be something else - I thought I'd do it as an undead angle, ghostly force animating old metal. My plan was to do the metal bits as rusted steel, with the rest as greenish-blue fire. I wanted to pick out the patterning on those plates, though, so after painting them with a dark metal I brushed over them with a thinned-out blueish satin.

The satin turned out to be a lot thicker than I'd expected, so rather than giving me blackish metal with bright blue in the grooves, I got a much lighter, blueish metal with a stronger blue in the grooves. I showed it to Rey, who agreed that it looked like a patina... and why waste an effect like that? Instead of drybrushing over with a grey steel and adding rust as I'd Intended, I drybrushed it with copper instead. The result looks something like very old but well-preserved metal, with a thick patina that's worn away at the edges to reveal the bright metal underneath. There are some other aspects of the model I'm not happy with (didn't entirely manage to get rid of the mold lines, and the ghost-fire needs a bit more contrast), but the metal effect is splendid.

Note to self, in case I want to do this again some time: base with Reaper's Steel Plate, paint over with thinned out Frost, then drybrush with Copper. I really need to get a camera with good macro mode so I can capture some of these; my painting's definitely improving.
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2006-01-03 11:24 am
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Miscellany and weather

Another year, another Windows vulnerability, and quite a nasty one by the look of it; might want to check your security settings, if you haven't already.

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on November 30, but Tropical Storm Zeta is still hanging in there. The NOAA has a list of the many records broken by this year's hurricane season.

[livejournal.com profile] velvetink has some photos of the smoke from the recent bushfires to the north. It was Sydney's hottest New Year's Day on record (45C/113F, and 47C elsewhere in NSW; hotter for the firefighters, of course).

Dog-Or got me a DVD of Peter Gabriel's music videos for Christmas. Such a thoughtful doggie! Still waiting on a present I ordered for somebody else on October 31; if it doesn't arrive this week, time to chase the company again.

Bought myself a little electric drill, which has made the whole pinning-models process much easier - a lot faster than using a pin vise, and more importantly more control. What am I saying? I'm an instant-gratification child and the speed's what really makes me happy, but the control is also good. I'm still working on my giant eagle, which broke off its base under its own weight (lovely pose, shoddy engineering). My Cunning Plan is that if I angle it into a turn, I can have half of its tail scraping the ground (rather than just the very tip) and get three pins into it between the tailfeathers rather than just one, but I'm still not sure that'll be enough to hold it. Any modellers got suggestions here?
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2005-12-23 10:32 am
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Attention to detail

(Oh, and Merry Cephalopodmas to those of you for whom it's still the 22nd!)

My Dwarven Forge floor set arrived yesterday. All of the pieces are spiffy and detailed, but the sarcophagus was special...

There are people who'd give you a pretty-looking sarcophagus, painted to look like stone. There are people who'd make the lid removable, so you can open up the sarcophagus and see what's inside. There are people who'd put a carefully-painted skeleton inside the sarcophagus... and then there are people who'd add scratch marks to the underside of the lid. :-)