A Tiny box for Tiny People

Last weekend, my wife and I make a trip to Ikea to get a display cabinet for my miniatures and the beaver figurines I collect (more on those later–stop with the jokes).

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Overall, doesn’t look too bad, but as we assembled it (no minor task), I realized it is bit too small to hold the entire collection of beaver figurines, but it will have no problem with all of my painted miniatures–I don’t have lots of those.

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Yancy Street

Last night I got the chance to work a bit on the base for Mr. Grimm. I am going for a concrete/blacktop look. I am not sure if I am pulling that off or not yet, but I am not unhappy with the results yet. The base needs more elements for sure, and I am not sure what they will be. I will be adding (not sure how yet) a street sign for Yancy Street (either ruined or fully upright). But it will need more after that. For me, the busier the base, the better.

Some shots:

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I also tried out Secret Weapon Miniatures pigments for the first time since taking the class on how to use/apply them at ReaperCon. They didn’t turn out too badly (need to do some cleanup in areas around it), but they were harder to apply on the brass rods than they were on the resin bases. The look isn’t too bad, but I am not sold yet (might need more). Some shots:

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A bit more work on Ben

A bit more work on Ben last night. After much debate, I decided to go with the white trim on the trunks instead of the dark, dark blue look for mere contrast, and I am happy with that. Last night I did a black wash to fill in the cracks of the rocks for some more contrast, wiped the excess away (first time I have done that), but my desired result was not really achieved. He is WAY too dark now, so I will need to go back and lighten him up. And the 4 on his belt, well that is just sad looking right now.

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Ben Grimm, aka The Thing

Well, after having returned from the high that is ReaperCon, and then recovering from Con Crud, I have started working again on Ben Grimm, aka The Thing again from Knight Models.  I had hopes of maybe bringing him to ReaperCon, but The Grudge ended up taking a lot longer than I expected, and I dwaddled for a month and lost a lot of precious time.

When I first saw Knight Model’s The Thing, I wanted it immediately.  I missed out on the few Star Wars miniatures that they did, and I am sad, so I am glad to see the Marvel line seems to be going strong.  I had some trepidation as others in my group have had bad some bad luck with Knight Model’s castings–slipped molds, terrible mold lines.  Thing did not have any of these issues, but, in all truth, he is not nearly as complicated as as most other models.  He is a bug chunk of rock with blue eyes.

Here is what I have worked on so far (some progress was made this weekend as 3rd Saturday meetup–more on that later).

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So far, I have enjoyed working on him, but he is a BIG chunk of metal, and I have had a hard time with him.  Each and every time I have transported him, he has lost paint.  Partly due to his weight (hence the big chunks of primer you see), and partly due to the terrible way I have mounted him in that above picture.  I have since improved that greatly, he has finally moved without being damaged–partly as I stood him up and I didn’t pack with other models that shifted.  I will probably put a sealer on him though.

Here is the base I am working on.  It is supposed to, once painted, represent asphalt. I am still working out how I am going to pull that off.  I will probably browse Clever Crow’s albums for some ideas.

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And here his is mocked up on the base, primed.

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He floats a bit on the base (this always seems to happen to me no matter how much planning I do ahead of time).  I hope to sculpt/paint up a license plate to stick under his foot, and I think I am going to put a broken street sign (Yancy St.) near him.  Not sure yet.  I also think I am going to sculpt up a miniature cigar for him since he often has one, but I will have ot see how it looks in his mouth as he wasn’t sculpted that way.

On the base itself, I am going to attempt my first use of weather pigments on the pipes you see on the base.  As I posted earlier, I took a hands-on pigments class with Justin McCoy (misterjustin on YouTube), and I thoroughly enjoyed it–although it cost me some cash.  After his class, I obtained a few pigments:

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The Grudge with his Bling

Here he is, sporting his bling.

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ReaperCon Entries

I was not going to go to my first ReaperCon and not enter something, and I wanted to enter something new. I started on The Grudge quite awhile ago, and it ended up being both my first bust and a difficult piece. The beard in particular was hard. In the end, I ended up entering three items–2 in painters (Resting Mage, The Grudge), and 1 in diorama (Gimli on a Urak-Hai). Only two of the pieces would ended being judged as only your better piece will be judged in a category that you have entered more than one piece. The Grudge was chosen over Resting Mage. He was chosen because he was the more difficult piece and hopefully, better painted overall.

On to the entries. First, The Grudge as it has never been posted finished. I will tweak him a bit more when I have a bit more umph.

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and I asked the sculptur, Jason Wiebe to sign the side of my piece. He did not find it too offensive, so he obliged me. 😀

The Grudge signed by Jason Wiebe

The Grudge signed by Jason Wiebe

Additionally, I entered my Resting Mage from Dark Sword Miniatures with a few improvements from when I entered her at Ghengis Con (she is significantly better IMO). Here is an older photo.

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And the oft seen Gimli.

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In the end, I ended up with two bronzes, and I would be lying if I told you I was happy. I expected The Grudge to hopefully get a Silver, but alas he got a bronze. He got what is called a high bronze, but a bronze nonetheless. The feedback from the judges was all legitimate, and, well, lessons learned. Gimli got and deserved no higher than a bronze.

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My Very First ReaperCon

I have returned from ReaperCon. I had a great time, and it was nice to be in a place where miniature painting is really the only focus. I got to go classes, paint a bit, and chat with other painters, sculptors, and pro-painters. While there, I took the following classes:

Intro to Painting Freehand Patterns with Jessica Rich — my first class of the con, and one of the better ones. I wanted to learn how Jessica does freehand, and basically, her “theory” on it. I got the basics I wanted, and also learned that I cannot paint a fleur-de-le at all. I spent most of the class un-doing and re-doing the same section over and over. I expect when I do my first free-hand, and I expect it will be soonish, I may go with with celtic knots or something like that. I would have also liked to hear her talk about portraits on cloaks as well. This piece here always impresses me:

Rabbit Ranger from Dark Sword miniatures

Next up, was Painting Tips & Tricks with Marike Reimer — also very good. She ran it as a Q & A, and it was nice to see how her painting process is and how she thinks. As happens with Marike, it ended up eventually going to sheer cloth and free-hand which I would have preferred it not to go to, but with her, it is going to go there eventually.

That was it for my first day, and I am glad I only went with 2 a day, and with a 2-hour break in between for the entire con. On Saturday, I started with Hands-On with Pigments with Justin McCoy. This was probably one of my favorite classes of the weekend. I have always been interested in using pigments, and looking at the internet, you find so many opinions that contradict each other that it is hard to see what is true and what is not. Justin broke it down great for me, and took the fear out of pigments. I can see me using pigments in my near future fairly often. I just need to get myself to Secret Weapon Miniatures and get me a set or two.

Painting Textures with Noel Meyer was next. Sadly, this one was a lecture and not hands-on. I really was excited about this one, and it didn’t pan out to be as good as I thought. My roomate took the version of the class that I really wanted to with Aaron Lovejoy, and I frankly wish I had gone to that one. Don’t get me wrong, I learned some things, but not being able to see well while she worked and often the examples she passed around didn’t exemplify what she was talking about that much for me–might have been the lighting. I wanted to take this class when I first saw one of Aaron’s entries for a couple shows ago. This too ended up going into sheer cloth. What is folks obsession with sheer cloth. This was one of the bigger disappointments of the con. If it had been hands-on, it would have been a lot better. I tried to practice right after class, but to no avail. I will be chatting with my roommate hopefully at next paint group to get what Aaron taught.

The last class of the con was How Not to Suck with John Bonnot, and it was a huge disappointment to me. John I can tell is great teacher, and I want to take a class from him in the future. This class I have heard about each year about how good it is. And I expect it is, if you are brand-new or fairly new to painting miniatures. I am not. This class is almost basic miniature painting. It is probably should be called Miniature Painting Basics 2.0. It was a wasted 2 hours for me, and it made it worse that I could have been at Aaron’s Painting Textures instead of this. The others in the class did get a lot out of it though.

So, overall, ReaperCon was great. I learned a lot, and had a great time. My only regrets are I wish I had taken some sculpting classes, but most of them I found were too specific for my current talent level. I will be practicing that more in the near future. More on the ReaperCon competition once I get some photos of my entries.

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Troll Slayer

As the title would suggest, I am a fan of dwarfs (or dwarves).  Recently, I picked up the Trollslayer bust from

From the painted image on CoolMiniorNot:

I am still not sold on the “look” of this guy, but, regardless, I think he will both be fun to paint, and a learning experience in painting when I do get around to him. The amount of flesh will teach me a lot about flesh tones. Plus, I may venture into the world of tattoos with this one.

The packaging for this one is quite nice as well. He came in a small metal tin.

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I have only glanced at the bust itself, but the quick glace was good. It appears to be a very clean cast with very few mold lines.  I can’t wait to get to work on him, but he is further down on the list of items to finish.  I must first finish The Grudge, and I hope to make some good progress on that dang beard this weekend at Paint Group.

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The Beard!

The Grudge continues to make slow progress.  The beard is giving me fits.  I just can’t get the grey right.  It just doesn’t seem to “look” right.  I have gotten good advice from a couple of sources, and I am trying those out right now.  I have added more white, and that appears to be working, but I am not sure what I am going to do here.  I may end up changing the primary color to auburn, and then added grey to that.  I want him to be a grizzled, senior warrior, but I may go insane if I can’t get some progress on his beard/hair soon.  I won’t have a ton of time to work on him this weekend, but I hope to either make progress or start on a new color.  I put some brown/aubrun on the back of his head last night to see what that may look like, and I am unsure.  I think the size of this bust might be throwing me as well.  He is bigger, so the  highlights and shadows will be different.  The contrast doesn’t probably have to be as intense.

Some pictures of what was done last Friday.

 

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The Grudge

I am attempting my first bust right now–The Grudge by Jason Wiebe.  So far, I am pretty happy with it.  I am very happy with the “leather” armor.  I decided to make the armor studded leather as opposed to metal.  I just thought it would add something new to the figure as all the pictures I see paint it as  metal.  I am quite happy with it.

This weekend, I did a lot of work on it, but very little show for it.  I tried out the “salt” method of weathering his pauldrons, and I have moderate success.  It is not as good as I hoped it would be, but it works.  It is a method that will require some more practice.  Both the process and the under-painting need work.  The rust color I just never got right, and I thought it was ok, but it just isn’t “rusty” enough for my tastes.

The skin still needs a lot of work.  It looks ok right now, but it is rough.  Where I am really struggling right now is the hair (and there is much of it).  No matter what I do, it just doesn’t seem to have the depth that I would like.  I have painted a lot of dwarf beards in my life (heck look at the blog title), and I am ok with it, but for some reason this one is not coming together.  I need to look at my colors again, and perhaps spy on other versions of The Grudge out there.

Other than the beard, the next challenge is the right eye.  I want to paint it as dead, and I have some ideas, but we see how it works.  Just linen white right now does not work (as I expected it wouldn’t).  It just looks like an unfinished eye.  I hope I can get it to work though as I would really like that effect.

Some pictures of the WIP:

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