Sunday, 2 November 2014

Lord General Coleman Stryker Commission

This figure was finished a couple weeks ago but I kept stalling on posting about it.  I was originally waiting to post about this one until after Strategies held its annual Immortal Brush Painting Comp to ensure nobody saw it until the actual judging!  I think this is a safe way of getting the best results in a competition where the judge doesn't know what to expect.  You're more likely to get sick of something the more you see it!

The first comment I'll make on the figure itself is I underestimated its complexity.  Complexity is something I've been debating and getting better at judging lately.  I intuitively know complexity by picking up a model and painting it but explaining it to a customer interested in a commission is a completely different ballpark.  The best explanation I've come up with so far is "I price models based on complexity, quantity, and overall size where complexity means how many surfaces I have to be CAREFUL about basecoating and blending."  An example of super complex would be ANY skorne infantry figure or beast where I would first paint the red armor and then need to carefully coat the gold trim without "going out of the lines" on to where I've already finished.  An example of simple would be a Space Marine or Retribution of Scyrah figure.  These models both have large smooth surfaces without much detail on top of the armor itself.  A Chaos Space Marine, however, has trim EVERYWHERE and would drive me bonkers!

That being said, take a look at this figure now and tell me if it's simple or complex:

Most have probably already guessed complex as hell.  I think I got excited about how much blue there was without gold trim (when I'm used to painting Skorne I was pretty damn happy) but then after the blue was finished I realized how many other odds and ends were scattered all over the model including things like leather straps, lightning nodes, silver gears and details, etc.  Needless to say it took me a lot longer than I expected.

As for the finished product, I'm pretty happy with it.  I entered it in the competition at Strategies as I mentioned earlier and came out with 1st place in the Fantasy/Historical large category.  I particularly enjoy the facial expression that Stryker is sporting.  My favorite part has to be the flag and just the pose itself.  It's a really cool sculpt that I otherwise would never have painted for myself so I thank my client for the opportunity.  Of course the client is happy as well as he now owns a competition winning entry!  

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Attack-X 2014 "Sage Brush" painting competition

On Sept 12-14th a few friends and I made the 4.5 hour trek to Kamloops from Vancouver to attend a gaming convention, Attack-X.  I played Warmachine, of course, but did pretty damn poorly so we don't need to talk about the gaming!  But the painting, on the other hand, I will do some talking about!

I took a few pictures of the entries relatively early on the Saturday of the con so unfortunately I may have missed some entries that were put in the case later on in the afternoon, so apologies if I missed your figure! (I'm certain there were a couple I missed that were there the next day sadly).

Without further delay:

Really spectacular dwarven battlegroup with tons of weathering, nice OSL on the visors and an excellent display base to make it really stand apart from the other entries.  I believe this one was by Karim Sadik

A very interesting chaos dragon.  I'm not sure if this is a conversion or if its an actual Forgeworld model but either way it was well done with nice little freehand scales on the wings (similar to something I've done in the past).

Here's a pretty cool Kraken that was almost certainly inspired by Todd Mcneal's Kraken with the pink color scheme and mud streaking down the hull.  This one added some really nice water effects on the base which I actually prefer to green goo but both are fitting for the model for sure.  This entry ALMOST confused me into thinking it was Todd's at first but the blending is not QUITE up to par with Todd's though its nothing to sneeze at.

This was a terrible picture with bad glare because a door was open facing the cabinet.  Overall this was a pretty cool take on a Cephalyx monstrosity.  I liked the blue/grey skin that was well blended.

In this picture we have a few entries that I couldnt get closer pics of due to the layout of the cabinet.  This picture mainly shows off Todd Mcneal's Pandora crew from Malifaux.  Some very nice bright ghostly green on these dudes.  My own Tiberion sits in the upper corner.

This masterpiece is all Alex Yuen.  After talking to him about this one I discovered this was disqualified from Gottacon's painting competition for being X rated.  I think its pretty funny personally but I can understand it's not for everyone.  Good job and very creative Alex.

This is Dave Brereton's (I hope I spelled that correctly) big ass Woldwrath.  It's always impressive to see these huge models in the display case at painting competitions and this one was quite well done with real life made into the pose as if its lumbering forward.  

Here's a picture of my Trollblood battlegroup I entered into the squad category.  I'll have better pictures of these in a later blog post hopefully.  Behind these guys and really hard to get a good picture of is an excellent chaos sorcerer/lord on a manticore.  It had some great blending going on with the manticore's skin and the rider's cloak.  This was one I can tell probably deserved more than it was awarded but thats my technical eye speaking.

Centered here are some sweet looking Legion figures with an alternate color scheme that fits quite well with the models.  Had the blending on these ones been slightly better I think they would've had a very good chance of taking the prize as the painting was generally clean and the models had a nice balance of cool and warm.

Here are a whack load of different entries.  My Xerxis is sitting there along with some great freehand on a Mercenary warjack.  A really nice turquoise dwarven Tactical Arcanist squad sits alongside a turquoise Scaverous boasting some NMM gold trim in the corner.  The Scaverous belongs to Will Hellebrand and was actually painted to the same style and recipe as some of my older gold NMM (I wrote an article on Handcannon Online quite a while back). 

First place for small base - Todd Mcneal

First place for Squad - Karim Sadik

First place for large base - Glen Tarbet
this is one in particular that I didn't get a closer picture of because it was added later on in the day.  Glen has consistently smooth painting along with brilliant colors and professional, non-sloppy use of Armypainter Quickshade.  Great job Glen!

Annnnnddddd... not to toot my own horn but.. I'm the PAINT MASTER!!!!! (I went around all Sunday informing as many people as I could that I'm the PAINT MASTER!!!!!!)  Very cool trophies thanks to Nathan Bosa and Lukasz Kruszewski for making and providing them.  Thanks for the Sage Brush painting competition - I hope more tournaments and cons have this opportunity in the future.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Painting your heroes and center pieces

With life advancing ever onward, I've decided to start selling my skills for money.  I could use a second job after my day job and practicing painting at the same time is always a bonus.  It's been a little while since I've done anything for anyone else besides myself which was a much needed break but I'm leaning towards the conclusion that I get more done when I'm painting for someone else under a loose time line.

What will I paint?  Not armies thats for sure.  I will paint single models, large models, heroes, monsters, small groups of models but NOT an entire army unless I'm going to be compensated handsomely.  I don't mind working a few hours a day for what usually works out to be >$10/hour on a model I ENJOY painting but completing an entire ARMY at that rate is just not in my interests.  Like I say, there are always exceptions so it never hurts to ask just don't expect a cheap price because armies are TONS of work and hours.

Contact Info:  please label the subject as PAINTING or COMMISSION, thanks!

Here is something I've completed for a client.  It's a Forgeworld Minotaurs Chaplain (Enoki I believe?).  This guy has sadly made me excited to paint space marines.. a really unwanted distraction at the moment!   For how horrible GW is at making a balanced game system for competitive play they certainly do make some cool models.

I particularly enjoyed painting the black power armor on this guy.  I'm not often happy with highlighting black but I think I've found just the right amount of blending required to make it look well shaded but still black, not turquoise or grey.   Lots of bone details all over this model were fun to work on as well, specifically the bone handle of the crozius as well as his helmet and ribcage.  Overall I'm pretty excited about how he turned out.  I hope you like him.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A long break from the blog

***Disclaimer: my copy+paste function was acting up and I realize some words aren't aligned correctly but I'm far too lazy to re-write the whole article so.. fml***

It's been a while hasn't it?  I haven't been posting projects on here so often lately due to multiple reasons (lack of time with a kid, not wanting to show off models I plan to use in competitions, no good photos etc) but have found without posting stuff I don't motivate myself enough.

Here is something I've finished recently: Tiberion.  I had this guy assembled and base coated for a long time but only got around to completing him now.  This is the first Skorne model I've painted since last year I believe and I've made an adjustment to my NMM gold recipe.

I found my original gold color was too dark for my liking and a little complicated to achieve - using paints from multiple different manufacturers.  I wanted to find something brighter colors and ideally colors from one company (I find the same brand paints mix together easier than trying to mix different brands and this is probably due to the colors sharing the same ingredients?).  I went with my favorite, P3, and I'm really liking it.

I start off with a base of 50:50 Bloodstone and Rucksack Tan.  I'll then have my 2nd layer be pure Rucksack Tan.  I'll now go back a couple stages (something I'm really starting to get into after attending Meg Maple's master class) with pure Sanguine Base as a shade.  The red shade makes a great, dark but still warm contrast with the pale sand color I finish off with.  After playing with the shade color for a while I'll start highlighting again with 50:50 Rucksack Tan and Moldy Ochre.  I'll then do a layer of pure Moldy Ochre.  Finally I'll finish off with an extreme highlight of 50:50 Moldy Ochre and Menoth White Highlight.  I found one of my favorite things with this recipe to be the huge contrast between the dark red/purple shade and the bright off-white highlight.

I also finished Tyrant Xerxis using the same variance in gold as Tiberion.  I'll definitely be sticking with this one from now on. 

I will also be making a blog post announcement shortly that will rock you to your core!! Not really.. I doubt it will change much at all but desperate times call for desperate measures!  Stay tuned...

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Foodmachine charity figure donation: Lord Exhumator Scaverous

Finally finished this one for Shawn Leblanc, 2nd place winner of Foodmachine at Connections.

First of all I have to say this model is very cool.  I normally dislike undead figures (mostly because everyone else seems to love them - I'm a hipster like that) but this figure is just large and imposing with a great sculpt and a menacing look.

I wanted to make him a little taller, so I started by adding cork to the base.  I glued the figure together completely and that was my first mistake.  After priming him (pretty terribly to be honest), I picked up the model to apply the first few layers of paint and subsequently dropped him on the work table, smashing him into smithereens... I then decided it would be good to pin the crap out of this model - something I should've done from the get go.  I did, however, keep him separated in two major parts: the legs and body, and the arms and weapon.  I don't normally do this due to pure laziness and the idea that "what is covered up I can't see anyways so why paint it?" but I decided to try something new.  I don't regret painting it in pieces.

Other than that, I pretty much knew what I wanted to do for this guy.  This was originally intended to be a Gottacon 2014 painting competition entry but I didn't finish it quite on time.  With the competition in mind, however, I wanted to throw as many silly gimmicks into this figure as possible.  I'm not one for "special effects" on figures, but I know judges sure like them (I'm looking at you Kelly Kim!), though I am a huge fan of technique.  Thus, I added NMM, which I wasn't originally intending to do, OSL, AND some silly airbrushed cotton fire just to really cake on the cheese!

I used my Skorne red, my Circle of Orboros gold NMM, my standard steel NMM, and some black cloth.  I got some GW skulls (because lets face it-  PP can't sculpt a decent skull worth crap half the time) for the base as well to add to the undead theme.  Usually I think putting corpses on bases is super tacky but I felt it suited this figure.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results and I'll have to kindly ask Shawn to borrow the figure for a competition of some sort in the future.  Which one I'll enter it in is yet to be decided.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

My experience with thinning paint for use with the airbrush

I'm working on a commission project for Beautiful Warfare Studio of some really cool Forge World Pre Heresy Night Lords raptors and a couple vehicles.

For the main blue cote of these figures I want to save time by airbrushing it instead of hand brushing.  The biggest problem I've found with doing this is that after using my Vallejo Model Air paints to base a figure I have difficulty blending via hand brushing afterwards.  Sometimes the jump between airbrush to hand brush blending is too obvious for my liking or sometimes I want to go back to that base color to find that VMA blends in a completely different way than the normal P3 paints I tend to like using.

I want to use P3 blue colors for the Night Lords because, as I've said in the past, P3 just works for me and my method of feathering.  These paints are so silky smooth and, to be honest, have a little wiggle room for mistakes or imperfections here and there.  It's just their nature.

In order to avoid past problems with VMA-P3 / airbrush-hand brush situations, I decided to do something I'm a little nervous about: thinning the P3 paint and pumping it through the airbrush in the first place.  I've never had much success with this kind of thing yet (probably thinning the paint down TOO much to avoid dreaded airbrush clog) so naturally it's not something I'm confident in.  I HATE having to take my airbrush apart and it happens all too often with me.  I even keep the air flow continuous such that my index finger often hurts after a decent airbrush session but the brush STILL ends up clogging somehow.  I really need someone who knows their shit about airbrushing to sit beside me and give me some pointers about what I'm doing wrong.  I've kind of learnt everything on my own thus far...

At any rate, I took the P3 Exile Blue, added some Vallejo airbrush thinner and then by accident dropped a whole bunch of water in the mix.. So then I added more paint and a little more thinner and got something akin to what I expected: a not too thin but not too thick mixture that covers well and doesn't clog the brush.

I used the Vallejo polyurethane white primer to first coat these figures.  This is a strange primer and I'm not sure if it's ideal for use outside, or maybe just not for the climate of Vancouver?  It tends to spray on to the figure messily with easy to identify "drops" all over the model.  After a couple of these cotes the problem fixes itself I guess but I'm still not sure if I'm using it correctly.

I added some of my Exile Blue mix and it went on poorly at first but after a second cote really saved me a lot of time.  I still clogged the airbrush, however, though this might have been due to some primer getting stuck (the primer is a tad on the thicker side itself).  I really get frustrated airbrushing.  I sometimes wonder exactly how much time I'm saving when it seems at least twice a session I'm taking the needle out of the brush and wiping it down... sigh...

The 5 raptors are all very blue now and quite solidly at that.  All the detail has been retained (though I don't usually have a problem with this in the first place).  For the vehicles I plan on going even further with my airbrush experimentation and doing something I've always seen done but have never experienced myself: extreme blending with the airbrush.  To be precise, I mean starting with a light color in the 1st quarter, corner of a panel, then using a few mid tones with the airbrush in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of a panel, and finally using the darkest color (in this case Exile Blue) in the 4th quarter of the panel.

I will have some pictures of the project when I deem them suitable for photography... Until then, let the trail and error commence!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy New Year!

It's been a while since my last post.  I started work again after a SWEET nine month parental leave so I've been slowing down the progress on miniatures a little (that and the holiday season created some hiccups in my productivity).

Been back at it now though!  My goal before 2014 was to finish my Pureblood Warpwolf I had been working on.  I did so with a few hours of 2013 left to spare!  I'll include some quick pictures of this model at the end of the post.

Something else I'd like to share is that I kept a tally of every single model I completed in 2013.  I want to start doing this every year so I can look back at how productive the year was and if I can beat my completed  model count for the next year.

Master Ascetic Naaresh
Dominar Rasheth
Paingiver Beasthandlers x6
Basilisk Krea
Nekima, the Dark Sibling
Lord Arbiter Hexeris
Mohsar the Desertwalker
Cyclops Raider
Mortitheurge Willbreaker x2
Paingiver Taskmaster
Warpwolf Stalker
Druid Wilder
Molik Karn
Archdomina Makeda
Celestial Wizard
Saan Dragon
Kaymayuk Priests of Zerex x2
Bright Wizard
Steam Tank
Master Engineer x2
Battle Standard Bearer Captain
Cherek Hunters x4
Demigryph Knights x9
Halberdiers x47
Archers x10
Great Cannon x2
Helblaster Volleygun
Knightly Orders x10
Timor Dragon
Shifting Stones x6
Khorne Daemon Prince
Druid Gone Wilder
Totem Hunter
Knights of the Realm x6
Kaymayuk Warriors x6
Warrior Priest on Barded Steed
Battle Standard Bearer on Steed
Kaymayuk Chieftain
Corbrulo, Hellion of the Deep
Dwarf King on Bear
Saan Power Marks x3
Eye of Kyran
Kaymayuk Priestess
Kaya the Wildborne
Minotaurs Terminator Captain
Norse Bloodbowl Trophies x4
Norse Bloodbowl Werewolves x2
Norse Bloodbowl Yeti 
Pureblood Warpwolf

Thats 159 models by my count.  Not too shabby!
... but I probably purchased more than I completed :(

The color of the scales were the biggest debate with this figure.  I'm glad I decided to paint them last so I could get a proper sense of the overall finished scheme before I committed to a scale color.

I've been practicing blending different basecolors together to eventually have a nice meld between two very different finish tones (in this case, white to tawny fur)

I love this sculpt and am glad I managed to acquire one.  Thanks Kiel for the great deal on these figures.