I'm a bit behind in updating this page. Two weeks ago, we had another painting party at Steve's. In the days before it, I had prepped up a batch of 8 Gripping Beast 25mm Britons from their "Welsh and British Kingdoms" line. The figures are really amazing...lots of personality and variety in poses. I'm not particularly fond of separate weapons and separate shields, but am starting to develop better methods of bracing the figures and weapons while the epoxy dries. Me and superglue don't get along, so I stick with five minute epoxy.
Anyway, I'd had time to glue them together and prime them before I took them to Steve's that night. I ended up getting far more done than I expected. I did the base coat for the flesh, chainmail and tunics on all eight. I actually thought I'd only get the flesh and steel of the chainmail done. Of course, that was nearly two weeks ago, and I haven't had a chance to do the drybrushing of those base coats yet! Oh well...this semeseter is almost over, and I should have time to work on them after I finish my assingments.
So, a week's worth of vacation has allowed me to make sufficient inroads on my schoolwork to feel I can afford to spend a bit of time photographing and posting my recent work. Without further ado, here they are:
After another Thursday night at Steve's (about two weeks ago), the standard bearers were just about complete. Although I've been very busy with schoolwork, I snuck in little 5-10 minute "paint breaks" to work on them. The final step was to print off the banners below from my color laser printer onto label paper. It is kind of tricky wrapping the banners around the pole so that they line up evenly on both sides, and I have to admit I screwed up once or twice and had to reprint. After looking at the three completed standards, though, I decided I really only liked the British one. The Viking one had too dark of a background color, which made it difficult to see the dragon head. And I'd printed the Pictish one too large -- it stretch from the top of the pole all the way to just above the ground level. this looked a little silly to me, so I cut off the Viking and Pict banners and started over.
Since I was redoing it, I decided to try something different for the Viking banner. At the Viking Ship Museum in Rosskilde, Denmark (where I was last week), I'd taken a photo of a black and white line drawing of a Viking "gripping beast" design. I pulled it up in Photoshop, tweaked the contrast and soon had a cool looking banner. I printed it out onto a lighter, more orangish red this time. I thought I'd merely have to resize the Pictish banner, but something is going weird with my printer and the green color I picked for the background. Spots of white appear throughout it, marring the look pretty much so that they're worthless. So, the Pictish banner is on hold, but the other two are proceeding through the final steps, flocking, sealing and so on. I should have pictures up in a couple of days...but I've said that before, haven't I?
So, it seemed like it'd been forever since we gathered over at Steve's on a Thursday night, to work on various projects and swap stories and plans. I brought along the Pictish broch to put my wash over, along with four 25mm Dino Hunt reporters and three 25mm Dark Age standard bearers. The broch ws scheduled to be used that weekend in a game, so I wanted to get it completely finished. The last time I was at Hobby Lobby, I'd seen that Model Master makes a 1 ounce jar of Clear Flat paint. Since that is twice the size of the normal Polly Scale clear flat I buy, I snapped it up, along with some Model Master black. The broch is a big terrain piece, and would soak up a lot of paint. I hadn't counted on the more pungent odor of the "acrylic enamel," and I think I gagged Joel who was sitting across from me! I finished it, though, and took it home to flock the next day.
I also finished off what little I had to do on my second batch of figures for Keith's Dino Hunt games. Three are reporters and one is a military man with a submachine gun. Then I did the base coat of the flesh and armor on three standard bearers for my Dark Age project. I was inspired to do these because Andrea Sfiligoi sent me a copy of "Song of Wind and Water" -- the "outdoor" supplement to his skirmish rules "Song of Blades and Heroes." One of the rules I particularly liked was Rally Round the Standard, which is basically a one-shot thing that allows figures that fail a morale check to group themselves around the standard rather than flee for the nearest table edge.
I didn't paint up any standard bearers when I was doing my Vikings and Picts, so rooted through my unpainteds and found one for each. Both are Alternative Armies figs -- I really like the Viking one. He has a full length fur cloak thrown over his back, cool helm with eyepieces, and studded armor. The Pictish standard bearer is actually a Gallic figure with a large animal mouth trumpet (carnafax?). The third figure is for the next force that I will undertake painting in my Dark Ages project: The Britons of Strathclyde! It is a Gripping Beast figure with scale armor, bare-headed and holding his helm in his hand, and one arm upraised (that I put the standard in).
For the standards themselves, I did a little Photoshop work using the black and white line drawings of "Celtic Art: The methods of construction" by George Bain and published by Dover Publications, Inc. It is a fantastic resource I picked up at the most recent Dublin (Ohio!) Irish festival, with hundreds of drawings of Celtic/Pictish/etc. imagery. With a little technical advice from Zeke and Steve, I think the banners turned out great. I'm going to print them off on my color laser printer once I have the figures done.
Sob. I have not painted a figure or updated my website in more than a month. I am truly a pathetic figure, judged by gaming standards. However, I did get to do something cooler than cool on my vacation. So, since I don't have diddly squat for you on Lead Legionaries, check out my travel website at www.worldwidemike.com.
It has been so long since I've painted figs, I honestly forget what my plans were for projects coming up. I do have my Pictish broch, which needs washed, sealed and its base flocked and such. But other than that, I'm at a loss. Do I work on more 25mm Dark Ages stuff? More 25mm hunters/reporters for Keith's Dino Hunts? More 15mm DBA? 15mm Victorian Sci-Fi? Or heck, switch gears to my 1/300 WW II aerial project?
I haven't the foggiest idea. Considering I have several schoolwork assignments staring at me, and The Herald whose deadline is today and that I haven't done one second of work on, I doubt I'll get to paint anything anyway until next Thursday, when I'll (finally!) go over to Steve's for the first paint night I've attended in more than a month!
I took over two more of my 28mm Boiler Suit apes (fearing that I'd need replacements in Zeke's campaign), along with some 25mm Iron Wind Metals figures for Keith's Dino Hunt games. These included two reporters/photographers and two hunters. I also brought a 54mm Alpha Miniatures Roman standard bearer that I'm making into a Barker Marker Trophy for the Emperor of Great Lakes Campaign Tournament at Advance the Colors this month. We had a good crowd show up, but it turned out I was the only one actually painting! Zeke was busy rebasing NPC warbands for the MDRG campaign that started that weekend, while Steve and Andy played a practice game of it. Keith came over again just to decompress from a busy week and to enjoy the camraderie.
I had prepped the figs the day beforehand, getting the base coats done that would be dry brushed that night. I like to give a full overnight of drying on anything that is going to be drybrushed. This allows the acrylic paint to "shrink wrap" onto the figure, and in my opinion, brings out the raised detail best. I pretty much finished both of the apes, as well as the Dino Hunt figures. Plus, I nearly completed the 54mm figure, as well. It was defnitely a productive evening. The apes turned out great, though I'm not as crazy about the overall look of the converted staff armed one. It was originally a marching figure with a shouldered assault rifle. I figured that, under Zeke's rules, it was very likely that any replacements for my dead Sim City warriors could end up not armed with modern weapons. So, I snipped out the assault rifle (and gave it to one of the hunters!) and bent the apes arms around so he is swinging a long wooden staff. My inspiration was the scene in the very first Planet of the Apes movie, when the humans are being chased in the fields, and you see these giant staffs scything down the tall grass and closing in on Charlton Heston. The other ape I painted is the "Big Banana" from the Eureka Line, who has a holstered pistol and is standing smugly, holding onto a cigar. He turned out great, and I will hopefully post pictures soon.
The hunters and reporters look really good, too. I particularly like the converted figure, who has his jacket off and slung over his shoulder, carrying the added assault rifle down at his side. The reporter/photographers look weasily, like they could be pushy and annoying in the jungle, with various dinosaurs closing in. They are overdessed in worn 3-piece suits and fedoras, and I hope Keith uses them sometime. I think they could add a fun element to the game as hunters who get photographed next to their kills earn bonus points, or whatever.
I have indeed been a slacker about putting photos of what I've been painting up here. So, here they are:
First off, I coudn't be happier with how my 28mm Eureka "Boiler Suit Apes" turned out. My buddy Zeke kicks off a post-Apocalypse campaign this Sunday, and these are my Warband that I'll be playing. I've always been looking for an excuse to paint up Planet of the Apes figures, and Zeke's campaign finally gave me one. We will be using the rules "Mutants and Death Ray Guns," from Ganesha Games (the same folks who do Song of Blades and Heroes, which I'm using for my Dark Age skirmish battles). The rules call for a basic 5 figure warband, modified sometimes by the types of troops you field (Humans, Mutants, Mutated Animals, Androids, Robots, Mutated Plants and even Zombie-like Wretched). I have a feeling it will be very bloody, and we'll be fielding lots of replacements for the dead in the second week of the campaign!
Anyway, so I decided to do the Apes' jumpsuits/"boiler suits" in a burnt orange color -- kind of like they'd looted them from some city worker supply bin after the collapse of civilization. My first thought was to do them as the Planet of the Apes gorillas. However, I decided to go with the more basic chimpanzee style, as I felt the black on black of the gorillas wouldn't paint up as well as the tan and brown of the chimps. All of them are armed with modern or futuristic weapons -- not Pvt. Lumbubu's flamethrower, and Pvt. Azanti's "electric gun" (from the MDRG rules). Doubtless, as my initial five apes die off in missions, they'll end up being replaced by less well armed troops!
Next up are my 15mm Hittites. Here is a group shot of the completed and flocked army. I still need to clearcoat and put glue and water on the base to seal the flock in, but it is done for all intents and purposes. I would have to say this is the least excited I have ever been about a newly-painted DBA army. I don't know if I'm on a downward swing in my motivation for DBA (I still enjoy playing!), or if I have so many other projects I want to get to that it seems like "work" to do these, or what. I think they turned out very colorful, but I just can't get excited about them. I may feel different about them after September's upcoming Advance the Colors convention, when I will first field them. Not sure if I'll play them in Friday's Double Size tourney (along with an ally), or if I'll play them by themselves in Saturday's 15mm Open.
Next is another St. Paul Irregular's Press building for my modern Africa games. This is a more rural hut, and technically, it is not completed yet. I still have to do the flocking on the ground, but thought I'd toss in a picture of it anyway. These buildings paint up extremely quickly, have nice detail, and turn out well. I highly recommend them, if get a chance to pick them up. They are meant for 15mm WW II, but work just as well for 20mm. With their pull off roofs and second storeys, they're perfect for man-to-man games or skirmishes.
And last but certainly not least, here's are a couple of shots of my Pictish broch. It is also not technically complete, as I haven't put a sealant wash on it yet. I'm hesitant to use my normal Polly Scale clear flat wash, as the dang thing is so big it'll probably use up a whole bottle! Zeke recommends that I try out the Kiwi Shoe Polish and water method he used on his Space Hulk terrain. I'm just a bit of leary of experimenting on anything that is so large and I've invested so much time in! So, here's a "nearly complete" picture while I ponder what to do with this final step. The wooden roof is separate and comes off, as do the upper half of the tower and the middle and upper floors. I'm actually thinking about adding one more refinement: Dabbing some steel, magnetic paint on the spiral staircase leading from the ground to second floor, as well as in the window/doorway at the second floor entrance. My 25mm Dark Age figures all have magnetic bases, and this may make them stick to it better. In the shot of the ground floor on the right, the semi-circular tabs projecting out are what the second storey floor rests on.
Painting is on at Steve's again tomorrow, so I should soon have more updates on my next projects...!
The Pictish broch for my 25mm Dark Age skirmish is nearly completed. Even the floors are finished, though I am still working on the roof. My first attempt at it looked crappy (mini dowels glued to a rounded cone). So, I'm trying a hexagonal type cone, instead. I'll use some store bought balsa wood I had left over from another project, modeled to look like wooden slats laid in overlapping layers. In the meantime, I'm brush priming the tower black, since there is no way spray primer is going to get into all the spaces between the Hirst Arts stone detail. This structure is pretty large, so black priming the entire thing with a brush is quite the project. It took me two nights of work just to do that!
It's weird how long various stages of its creation are taking. I was sure that glueing together the tower sections would take forever, as each successive ring or layer comes in 6-7 pieces. However, this didn't take nearly as long as expected. I also expected the wooden floors would be a bear to create, but they went quickly. The painting, on the other hand, I figured would be a breeze...wrong! This will definitely be the most labor-intensive part of the project. I had hoped to have it done for a Dark Age skirmish game at my place this weekend, but that is highly unlikely. I'll have to come up with a different scenario, as the terrain for "Broch Siege" won't be done in time!!!
This evening, I also cleaned up and glued onto cardboard squares my first batch of five 25mm Planet of the Apes figures I bought from Eureka Miniatures. I'm using them as my forces in Zeke's upcoming post-apocalyptic campaign using "Mutants and Death Ray Guns" (MDRG), put out by the same guy who created Song of Blades and Heroes. If I can attend Steve's painting party this Thursday, I will take those over to work on. I'll need to work fast, though, as he's running the first session of the campaign on Sunday, Aug. 31st!