Monday 26 December 2016

Ogre with Table

Heresy Miniatures make some lovely figures, but a lot of the names are perfunctory and Ogre with Table is a great example of that. Thankfully it's a lovely figure, and was good fun to paint.

I'm aiming for this to part of my expanding NPCs to loiter on the edge of Guild Ball matches. Colours were on-the-fly rather than planned, and I think it shows - too much similarity across his jerkin, hair and the fur. Happier with the skintones and transitions from dark to light.

Also, a teaser of a new project - the 90 minute challenge. The name probably gives you all the detail required to understand the goal :) This is where I am at the 30-40 minute mark ...

... and the full figure should be wrapped this week.

Monday 19 December 2016

Guild Ball Hunters: Theron

This is the last of the three figures started on the painting course with Arcane Paintworks and of the set, I'm glad this one is finally out the way. It's Theron, the captain of the Hunters from Guild Ball.

Considering at the start of the project I was convinced the eyes were unpaintable, it was nice to finish with blue irises on the little fellow. Had a lot of fun mixing colours and using yellow to highlight up on the green and browns which was very much outside my comfort zone and Meg the instructor was great at encouraging us to do exactly that.

The basing isn't much to write home about, but apart from my Morticians having slightly more themed bases, I plan to keep most of the Guild Ball teams on pitch-style bases.

Didn't quite get on with the sculpt, which is a shame as there's some lovely detail in there - but it simply didn't tug at me the same way a lot of the other Guild Ball sculpts do. With that said, I caved and bought the rest of the team in resin when they were on sale recently - so this colour scheme will feature again.

Monday 21 November 2016

Goblin Referee

Following the Ogre Sportscaster, this is the second of three figures I started to paint with Arcane Paintworks. He's a the Goblin Referee from the excellent Willy Miniatures (again) but painted up as an annoying little human - as I haven't yet seen goblins make an appearance in Guild Ball.

He's quite a small fellow too - compared to his colleague the Ogre. Smaller than a standard 28mm character and here's a scale shot to demonstrate the difference ...

The challenges here were:
  • Use non-skintones for my shading. This adds a depth of colour and interest that's usually lacking in my skin work, and while my highlighting still needs practice I was delighted with the shading side of things - even if it was a little OTT.
  • Paint four stages of eye following this guide. I managed to squeeze all four in here, as you can see from the top picture. This felt like quite an achievement considering the scale and space to work in. Moreso when you consider I only used a size 2 brush for the eyes to get that done.
At this point I genuinely feel my painting is starting to progress.

Monday 14 November 2016

Ogre Sportscaster

This is the first of three figures I started painting during my painting course with Arcane Paintworks, and the focus was the jacket and face. He's an Ogre Sportscaster from the excellent Willy Miniatures and having looked at this month's White Dwarf, he bears more than a passing resemblance to their cartoon figures advertising Blood Bowl, but moving on ...

The base is very vanilla as he'll be standing to the side of the pitch mocking my Guild Ball players. The painting challenges for me here were:

  • Highlight with a colour I wouldn't normally use. So there's a lot of yellow to work up from the base colour of tan ... you can see some areas of the figure were less successful than others, and that's fine. They're my little, horrible badges of honour while I got to grips with techniques. 
  • Getting to grips with shading using a two-brush blending/feathering technique. Hard, hard, hard. My brain needs to think about this more, and my hands need more practice - but it started coming together after the first few tries.
  • Try to use less colours on a figure. This worked well to make everything else a gentle background to try and emphasise the angry face.

I threw in some extreme highlighting on black trousers, as they were the last item on the figure to do and I'd painted myself into a corner.

Monday 31 October 2016

Chaos Space Marines: Death Guard Marine

This is a quick, tabletop standard figure to play around with a complimentary troop colour scheme to the rhino I did a few weeks back.

Colours don't quite feel right, but that's alright as I don't mind trialling different colour schemes on the foot soldiers. The armour's a little too light, so going to try something a little darker for the next one. Happier with the weathering streaks, metals and nice contrast with the Martian red basing. Probably needs some weathering around the feet to simulate red dust.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Guild Ball Morticians: Bonesaw

October's been a frustratingly, unproductive month on the painting front - so I've settled for a couple of older WIP models and gone for "it'll do" figures to get projects moving along and the mojo working.

So first up here's Bonesaw for my Guild Ball Morticians.

That leaves me with Scalpel to do and then the Morticians will be completed, which is quite exciting!

Sunday 25 September 2016

Chaos Space Marines: Death Guard Rhino

Finished up the Death Guard Rhino ahead of schedule.

It's not the greatest, but it has been a very helpful test piece to move me in the right direction for my colour scheme, playing with some weathering techniques and generally establishing how I want to paint my vehicles. It may have some dust applied to the tracks and bottom, but currently there's no basing theme for them - which I plan to work out with the infantry units.

Quick shot of the interior to show off all the panels adding visual interest. Funny how only a little paint on the inside can add that much more to the interior.

This panel is actually designed for the inside of the Rhino, but obviously that's almost impossible to photograph in-situ. I was playing around with trying to get a feeling of the daemon straining. It was initially glued on as a quick placeholder simply to help the two hatch panels stay in position while I fiddled with it during priming, but I liked it so much it stayed there. The face is glossed to give a wet feel.

My kids assessed this paintjob and I received two comments back: eldest said "amazing!", second one said "wow smells like sausages". No. Me neither.

Saturday 17 September 2016

The Art of "It'll Do"

... or How I Stopped Procrastinating And Started Finishing Figures

I'm not a great painter. No false modesty there, it's a fact - and while I strive to improve, currently my painting isn't much above average - or perhaps a decent quality tabletop level. This is fine. Where I have struggled the most is completing projects and moving to the next, and stop to think about how to rework something. But ... what is happening is that my projects are being finished and in reasonable time.

No magic tricks involved, but some simple techniques and a recent change of mindset. So I thought it might be nice to share how this has happened for the benefit of anyone else in the same position.

I'm getting quicker at the bigger tasks

After taking a recent painting course with the excellent Siege Studios (more on that in the future), they kept reminding us that half the battle of painting is the art of repetition. Doing the same task, time and time again, until you're better at it. Simple, right?

So the last week for me has been a focus on painting faces and adding shading and highlighting. As a result, the time it takes me to complete a face has sped up significantly. Okay, it's not amazing (yet!) but the same task is taking a good hour or two less than it did a month ago. Practice and practice again and suddenly there's all this extra time in my evening that wasn't there before.

I accept my projects won't be perfect

This is really hard for me as by and large, in most things I'm a completionist, mildly obsessive about everything being released to the same quality, and projects being at a high level of polish. While laudable as a work trait, it carried through into my hobby and has had a tendency to let me massively procrastinate slow me down significantly and needs to be unlearned for painting.

There's an old software development adage that the first 90% of a job takes 90% of the time, and the last 10% of the job takes 90% of the time. (source) But here's the nice part, and you may already know this ... by stopping at that 90% (okay, sometimes 91%) it means I can move on to the next project in the same year.

Very few painters will ever say "yep, this was perfect - there's nothing I'd change" ... it's a continually evolving and improving process, but when you're picking up the brush ask one question at the start "what's the reason for painting this?".

My latest project, Morticians from Guild Ball, are a good example of this - I want them on the table and being played.

Are they perfect? Not by a long chalk. There's a shonky left eye on Silence, Graves' gloves need another highlight or two, Obulus' straps could get an edge highlight, Silence's robes need more glazing. Could I spend infinite time sitting there trying to get them perfect? Certainly. Would I improve them enough to warrant that extra time spent? Probably not.

But in addition I got to play with new techniques. From the motley crew above, in order, I've played with: painting white shirts, glowing effects, adding blood, texture on robes, leather, stone and wet blending on fabric.

If these were competition pieces, then I would happily agonise over the final important steps to lift them up beyond my normal level, pushing to reach for the elusive next step up. If they were practice pieces designed to improve technique then it needs that extra 10% to boost my skill levels - but in most cases ... they're not! The purpose of these figures, for the most part, is to be used and played with; having them sitting unpainted on a box or unfinished my desk does them no justice at all.

Getting through this mental barrier has easily been the trickiest part of the hobby for me in the last year.

I will be okay with errors

Ideally you should finish a project, examine your handiwork and say "that was good, but next time I'll do this differently". Feel free to make errors - but try and make new and exciting errors each time (source) rather than retreading the same well worn ground every time.

Sure, if you look at my figures up close on the photographs then there are mistakes aplenty. My blending and layering is a slow work in progress, sometimes I miss clearly sculpted details that are evident to everyone but me, occasionally my brush overpaints something it shouldn't.

In short - it'll do. I'm okay with that.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Guild Ball Morticians: Graves

Last one of the regulars is finished, Graves.

Primer nightmare gave me an slightly gritty surface but I ploughed on (to my regret - wish I'd stripped) but at least he's now finished up. Strange model this, I didn't like it at the beginning but he's grown on me while painting it up. Colour scheme is a little duller and perfunctory than the others, he strikes me as a man who doesn't have time for anything that gets in the way of his job - so he gets a single purple feather by way of a highlight.

Two more to go - Bonesaw and Scalpel. A little of my enthusiasm for this project is returning on the basis that the finish line is in sight. Nearly there!

Friday 9 September 2016

Guild Ball Morticians: Obulus

Obulus time! The mighty captain, and a mandatory pick.

This now means I'm able to legally field two fully painted teams - Morticians and Fishermen. Bit of a watershed moment as I've never played any tabletop game with fully painted teams before. So even this small achievement feels pretty pleasing.

Oh and here's a ball ...

Exciting, huh?

Do wish I'd approached the display base the same way and trimmed a little from the bottom of the tombstones and sunk them in the base rather than letting them sit atop. Lesson learned for the future.

Determined to complete the full Morticians rosterbefore moving to the next project, so that leaves me with three more figures to do - Graves, Bonesaw and Scalpel. Hoping to have those finished in the next week or two while my mojo's working.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Guild Ball Morticians: Silence

We have another member of the team wrapped up - this time it's Silence. I can't recall where I saw the white robes for him, but loved the idea and accordingly nicked it and implemented it badly but there you have it.

He's got a bit of (OTT) OSL and I gloss varnished his little decanter of poison. I love playing this guy, he's seriously versatile, tough as nails and capable of handing out significant amounts of pain.

Made a bit of a schoolboy error with my Morticians. I started painting them as a group and having them on the painting table for this long has dampened my enthusiasm to the point I just want them gone now. Beginning to run out of steam, but Obulus is on the table next so on we go!

Monday 5 September 2016

Guild Ball Morticians: Ghast

Continuing my theme of trying to finish up the work-in-progress figures, here's Ghast for the Morticians.

Tried to make the skintones a little greyer in the dark areas, but not a grand success - but he's finished and it's onto the next.

Thursday 1 September 2016

Guild Ball Morticians: Cosset

Second update in the same week? It's like buses! Well, that's if buses were updates on a blog, instead of large red vehicles capable of carrying dozens of people on a predefined route.

Another member of the Morticians finished up, this time it's Cosset. Yes there's a point missing from her trident. It was sadly lost in the great Curious Child Incident of 2016.

I've tried to introduce a bit of texture to the dress and fabric with striping and, while it's a little heavy-handed in places, I like the result so will try again on another figure at some point with a bit more care. One frustration was painting up the poppet doll on back of her belt, then you apply the swooshy fabric and it's now obscured! Grrr.

It also highlights one minor niggling frustration with the Guild Ball range in general - the two petite ladies I've painted so far (Cosset and Angel) have enormous eyes compared to all the other, larger figures. Still, that's nearly a legal team fully painted and I'm hopeful of wrapping a few more figures in the coming weeks.

Wednesday 31 August 2016

Guild Ball Morticians: Casket, Dirge & Display Board

So, the display board is finished. I've opted for a sensible three headstones in a line, added some more foliage and left it at that. Happy with the end result.

In addition to the board, my goal for the Morticians is finished.

Also, two of the players are now wrapped - Casket and Dirge.

This weekend I'll be attending a two-day painting course run by Siege Studios. In my local gaming group there are no other painters - which makes it different to gauge how well you do things; as I'm keen to improve as a painter, here's hoping this will assist in unlearning bad habits and learning good/better ones.

I've also changed how pictures are hosted so if you click them they'll expand, rather than redirecting you to PhotoBucket.

Sunday 14 August 2016

Guild Ball Morticians: Display Base WIP

Hobby has taken a backseat over the last few weeks as my last job finished up and I'm hunting for the next (the downside of becoming a contractor) which sucked up free time and meant my figures aren't getting painted while I try to find someone to give me money in return for work. However, I'm back into hobby stuff this week and managed to make progress on a side project that I've wanted to get going for a while - a display and travel board for my Guild Ball Morticians team.

It started life as a Mob Football tray from Bendy Boards (love these guys) but wasn't quite sufficient for my needs. The black mat you can see peeking through is magnetic sheeting, and I've attached metal washers to the underside of all my figures. It's strong stuff and you can turn the populated board upside down and nothing falls out.

I wanted the board to have a little character, so using some plaster resin (you can see it in the first picture) I built some stone walls. After that, I took some Vallejo basing paste to fill in the gaps and add earth. Basically, it should look graveyard-ish by the time it's finished.

Priming this thing was the "what have I done" moment. We're outside my comfort zone here ...

... but it's okay! Some  greys, some browns and a bit of foliage and it's looking like an actual thing now. Phew. Still need to tidy up the black edging but we're almost there - however, this is where I'd like advice from the smarter and wiser among us. What do I do now? Do I need more grass clumps, some static grass to support the clumps, more grass peeking through the gaps between stones? Also, would it be overkill to drop tombstones behind each character slot? Quick dry fit illustration ...

... thoughts? Currently I'm leaning toward adding the tombstones but clipping the smaller ones at various angles to make them appear to be sinking into the uneven ground.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Purgatory: Hannibal

That was quicker than expected ... Hannibal and his (tiny, adorable) war elephant are finished!

It's not my best work (but what is?), but I'm happy with the outcome - and it's different from my usual fare. Lovely sculpt, albeit my eyes just couldn't pick out a few details I'm sure are there. This was good fun to paint, despite my initial reticence on the detail being a little beyond me - but glad I took the plunge.

The suit did get a blue blaze just to dampen down the brightness of the pinstripe, and it did the job well. The striping is reflected in the patterning of the elephant which gave pleasing balance when they were next to each other. I swapped out the standard base for a heavier industrial base, which should make more sense thematically when a few more of these are painted up in time.

You can see this and learn more about the figure range and upcoming Kickstarter for their game, over on their Facebook page.

Monday 18 July 2016

Purgatory: Hannibal WIP #1

I've taken to not posting work in progress shots of my figures in the last few months, as usually once they're started then it doesn't take long to finish - but this month has been a long one, and I was getting twitchy it was a month since the last post.

On the painting table is Hannibal from Purgatory, and he's looking very pinstriped at the moment. It isn't a painting technique I've tried before, and it's hard - moreso on this scale. Definitely a technique that needs more practice and a steadier hand to master, but for my first attempt this will do just fine.

There isn't much more to go with the suit, other than tidying the odd overspill on the rear of the figure and then it's on to the rest of the model. The hat and tie are going to move down into blues from the pinkish starting colour, as it's a little too garish right now. After that, it's skin!

Of course there's an elephant to accompany this fellow, but that's for another update ...