31 Mar 2012

Hall of Shame Part 3

Time for Episode 3:D
Mostly black and white, not particularly artistic, simply preshaded.


29 Mar 2012

Little bones for basing

At the moment I'm preparing another base with natural bones, so I thought I might as well tell you how to deal with them in our hobby.

But first few informations:
1. No animals were killed to obtain these bones, well they were killed and eaten, but not by me and not for the purpose of collecting base accessories. Pure cruel nature.
2. Some people may feel disgusted by the process of acquisition of the bones... I must say I don't understand that, but... well... If you feel you might have weak stomach or feel sick for trivial reasons, don't read this article, find another way to make your bases look awesome:D

Where to fing such a tiny bones (the gross part begins:P):
As you probably know, owls have very weak stomach acid, and are unable to digest bones and fur (and  they swallow their prey whole or in small pieces) , so they vomit it after a while. Ornithologists call that vomit pellet.
There are other animals that do that (for example cats, hawks, eagles and other raptors), but the owl's, in particullar Barn owl's, pellets have the bones in the best condition (weakest stomach acid).
The important thing here to remember is: it's vomit not a poop, it comes out the front end not the rear!!

You can buy natural pellets on ebay, sometimes with bone charts, as children are using them sometimes at school at biology classes to reconstruct bone structure of little mammals.
There are also artificial pellets avaliable, but I have no idea how the bones look like in them.

What can we find in a pellet:As I said earlier pellets are masses of bone, teeth, hair, feathers and exoskeletons of various animals.
Here are types of the bones you can find there.
Of course it vary in every pellet. This is 100% natural thing and all depends what the owl eaten that day.
But normally you can find: Skulls, jaws, parts of the spine, ribs, tibias, and other long bones.

That's the picture of the bones I got from my 6 pellets. It will probably be enough bones for my entire hobby life.

How to dissect a pellet:
1.Use latex gloves, and a dust mask. Ideally, you should have obtained your pellets from a reputable dealer, who will ensure that these pellets can't transmit rodent-borne disease (there is a note on ebay auctions if the pellet was sterilised).

2. Begin to pull apart your pellets with your hands, slowly and carefully. This tiny pellet is filled with small, fragile bones that you'll want to preserve. If the pellet proves to be too hard, you may soak the pellet in water to soften it. That creates a muddy mixture of bones, fur and other things. I personally prefer to deal with the dry pellets than wet, but it's entirelly up to you.

3.Separate the mess of fur, feathers, and bones with tweezers. As you break the pellet into smaller and smaller pieces, you can soak your pellets in water to remove the fur and feathers from the bones. Place the bones gently to one side, in a clean container or on paper towels.

4. Clean the bones thoroughly and just to be sure put into a cleaning/disinfectant liquid for a day or two.

5. Dry the bones and store them in a container, making sure they are out of reach of children and pets, you know.
.. just in case.

At the picture below you can see the bones in comparison with 28mm miniature (Hasslefree Akanke).
They would look great as a monster's bones in this scale, and skulls can be used for example as a dragon's remains. With bigger miniatures we can use them (the bones) as parts of human's skeletons.

How to glue and paint the bones:

If I remember correctly I was using PVA glue, but I believe they should survive contact with super glue without problems. In fact I just tested it on a very thin bone, and there are no signs of dissolving.

Paint them as anything else on your base, use primer at the beginning and then paint normally. You can stop licking your brushes for a while when painting bones, it's an animal's remains after all, even if sterilised.
Just be careful when picking them up with your tweezer, they're fragile and can be crushed easily.
And of course wash your hands after touching them, just in case.

And at the end, here are examples, where I used the bones on my bases:


Next base with bones soon, maybe even tomorrow:D



27 Mar 2012

Menhom Dark Shadow - Review

Another mini under the loupe, this time my first purchase from Andrea Miniatures.

Menhom Dark Shadow

(c) Andrea Miniatures

I felt in love with this piece few years back, when a friend send me a link with the pic. And it was the love at first sight. Unfortunately at that point I was on a verge of quiting the hobby, or not sure if I should get back to painting (don't remember exactly when it was), and the mini itself was too pricey just for a whim, so I didn't buy it. But never really forgot about it. And finally managed to buy it few months ago.

The mini itself is from an Andera's range Warlord Saga, the line of 54mm fantasy miniatures (some really nice stuff there - check it out).
I did measure it, and from the top of the spike to the floor it has 80mm, so it's quite tall even for it's scale (please notice that Menhom is bending forward, standing straight, he'd be even taller).

The mini comes in a paper box, not too stiff, but parts are secured with thick sponge, so there is no way anything can move inside. It's very important, as the metal used for that mini is rather soft and can bend easily.

What's in the box:
As you can see, in the box we find 15 metal parts and one resin (the bottom part of the body).
All the spikes and horns are on one bar, which is nice, because they're tiny and some of them are really thin.

The metal parts of the mini are rather clean. You can find few mould lines, but they are easy to remove. You need to be careful with the thin parts, like sword or spikes, because the metal is very soft and can bend almost under the weight of the brush.
Unfortunately the resin piece is way worse. The resin is rugged, especially in all these places that are hard to access, and by the look of the dress, you can say, that there is lots of such spots. There are also few mould lines, but comparing to the roughness of the surface in the recesses of the folds, it's not a big deal and easy to fix.

I'm rather happy with the way parts fit together. Even hands and wrists have little 'pins' to make the joints stronger. The only problem here are spikes, especially the longer ones. It's very difficult to make them fit the recesses and even if we manage to do that, making them stay there - it's completely different matter... I guess the only way is to paint them separately and glue to the mini at the last minute.

Overall opinion:
'Beautiful mini with issues' - that's the simplest way of describing this piece. If you don't mind prep work and can be patient with fixing all the imperfections, Menhom will be a very nice addition to your collection.  I'm not the fan of the intense preparation myself, but luckily the mini isn't bad enough to discourage from buying more Andrea Miniatures in the future (I got my eye on few Vikings there:D).

Were to buy:
If you're from Poland, I'd suggest to go straight to Jama store, they have great choice of minis (and even if they don't have it at hand, they can just order it) and the service is swift and very firendly.
UK - SK miniatures.
For the rest of the world - google closest retailer:)

Or of course, you can buy directly from Andrea Miniatures website.

Other Andrea Miniatures reviews:
Urmuth Scars of War

24 Mar 2012

A dress with a serious case of 'chicken pox' - WIP

Yesterday I was thinking what can I do, to make this huge surfaces of red dress more interesting. After a while (old and rugged golden embroidery even if very spectacular, is a bit too complicated for me atm) I decided to go for worn and old look of the fabric in 'Natalya style'. Well, tbh she's not using this technique to get worn look, but I hope I can adapt it for my purposes.

So dots, dots... lots of them....
And after one evening, the effect is hmmm... interesting at least, but not even close to the original;p

For now the dress looks like it has a chicken pox or something like that. But I'm trying to convince myself, that it's gonna look like I want in the end.
Don't get me wrong, I kinda like how the dress looks atm, especially on the pic that shows the back of the mini, but I'm going for a different look, and I'l ltry to achieve it.

But I guess it needs to be something more in this technique than just mindless stabbing the mini with a brush:)
I can promise, that if I find what's the 'secret ingredient' here, I'm gonna share it with you:D 



22 Mar 2012

Cancan dancers and other minis - WIP

Like Slawol rightly noticed, armless Menhom looks more like a skeletal cancan dancer not an ancient and powerfull undead warrior.
Hopefully with arms and weapons in place he'll restore more formidable look. But for now he's gonna stay in this more amusing state. I need to finish the dress first, and because I got big plans for it, poor Menhom can be armless for a quite long time:P

And maybe later I'll think if there is a chance of converting another Menhom into an ancient cancan dancer:P

Not too many changes here. I just added metallics, redo leather to get rid of the metallic paint outside metal parts and worked a bit on the red thingy on his head.
I'm still not sure if I should do the leather dark, worn and a bit shiny or more matt and fresh like it is now. I really like the matt look of the fresh leather, but all depends on how it's gonna look with the skin.
So next stop with this not so little fella - base skin tones:D

20 Mar 2012

Hall of shame Part 2

Another portion of minis found in my deepest drawers.
If I didn't miss anything, there will be at least three more episodes:)



16 Mar 2012

A very, very fast WIP

A very fast photo (please do appreciate the background:P) of the back of the bottle.
Very bad colours, due to a flash and messy surroundings, but the Maow logo looks good enough for a first draft, I'd say.

The black line under the Logo is not supposed to imitate the word 'miniatures', I'm not going to recreate the whole logo. I just thought it would look cool. I think I might be wrong;p



14 Mar 2012

Hall of Shame part 1

New subsection of my blog is live now:
Here  you can find first part of my forgotten minis.
For now first 5, but next will be published soon.
I hope putting them on a public display will help me find time to finish them:D

13 Mar 2012

Glossy eyes and other works - WIP

Monster bottle:
As you can see, I added lots of delicate redish and blueish veins in the corners of the big eye, gloss varnish and some light reflections. I'm affraid I need to redo them, because the natural ones from those two lamps, I was doing photo under, look way better:)
But other than that, I'm quite happy how the 'face' of the bottle is looking now.

The Grinder:
Not much to say for now. This is an extremely early stage. Only the leather elements are touched. I'm hoping I'll be able to try oil paints on this one. All these flat surfaces seems to be perfect for that, but I can't be sure if I won't chicken when it comest to that.

Menhom, Dark Shadow:
Next project I'm about to start;p
It's almost ready to be glued together, and I'm really excited to paint this one:D I even have clear vision of colour scheme and base, and that's rare for me.

At this point I think I should start new part of this blog: Hall of Shame, for all those started and abbandoned minis. I got the feeling that my HoS is allready huge, but I tend to hide unfinished and abbandoned minis in my drawers, so they don't make me guilty for starting a new one:P Maybe looking at them all in one place, would motivate me to finish at least some.
I do envy people who are able to work on one project from the beggining to the finish without distractions. Or at least are able to work more methodically than I do.

And how would you describe your workflow? Methodical or rather chaotic and full of various projects 'on hold'? I'm really curious if I'm the only one with ever growing  Hall of Shame?



5 Mar 2012

Monsters, monsters... WIP

My little monster bottle is progressing quite well I think. The 'face' part is almost ready. Still eyes will need some more attention, few touches to clean the area a bit, and of course gloss varnish. But there is the whole back of the bottle to take care of. I'm planning to try and recreate at least some prints from the real Vallejo paint pot, maybe mixed with some Maow stuff, but I'm not sure if I can manage to do barecode properly. If not I'll try something else.

The other one, Raggarth, is not such fun to paint. The shade of blue I took for skin is tricky for me to work with, and I still struggle with the shining (the layer of dullcote didn't help, maybe it was too thin?). But leather elements and the bones on his elbows and neck look good, and metal parts at least promissing, so maybe I won't trash it yet:)

That's how it looks at the moment.
Below you can find photos from earlier stages, almost back to the  basecoat.

As you can see, the skin doesn't look much better now than on the oldest photo. Sure there are some delicate highlights and shades, but there is still work to be done and lots of it.



1 Mar 2012

Winsor & Newton series 7 vs Rosemary & Co

I know choosing a right brush can be tricky sometimes, especially if you can't check them personally, and all you got are some pictures in internet.
If you are interested what I got to say about brushes I use, check little article I did for Chest of Colors, maybe it will help you make a decision:)