29 Sept 2011

Base step by step

Part 1 - building.

Let's try something new.

Step by step tutorial about creating a base for my little barbarian from Red Box Game.
It's a beautiful mini with a lot of character, and well... strong barbarian vibe. But she has no luck for bases so far. I believe this one is third, and hopefully last one.

The final idea for a base is wild, kinda nordic terrain with 'cliff like' rocks,  some roots hanging underneath, and rachitic trees. Maybe a bit of snow here and there? Who knows?
I know that Yrsa 'the Accursed' is almost naked, but she's  a fantasy barbarian after all. Being able to endure low temperatures without proper clothing is part of her trade.

On the first pic you can see materials I'm planning to use. It may change a bit, because at the moment I have no idea how exactly the base will look in the end.
I know there is no 'snow' on the picture, but I’m not even sure if I’m gonna use it. And if yes, how I’m gonna do that. Using baking soda or one of the ready made artificial  snow.

But what you can see is (without too much explanation, because I’m planning to do proper article about various and weird stuff I use for my bases):
- Milliput,
- bark,
- dry pieces of tree’s core,
- tree roots,
- grass roots,
- Vallejo Sandy paste and White pumice,
- gravel,
- ground sponge,
- dry moss,
- plinth I bought  here: MDP products.

OK, time to start. First the main rock, nice and pointed at the end.

It makes Yrsa looks like she’s standing on a cliff, looking far far above the forest, watching over her domain.

But the single rock looks kinda lonely, and the whole base is too empty. So I added another one, slightly under the first rock.

Then some filling with milliput, some ground, few stones and the core of the base is done.
I know it looks empty at the moment, but bare with me, I have a plan.


Time for some vegetation. First few rachitic  branches  growing in the little pocket in the rock (it was a small hole in the bark there, so I just made it a bit deeper to place a plant here.)

And now ‘The Hazel of the Darkness’, a tree growing almost in the naked rock. That’s the reason for it being so thin and crooked.

And that’s more or less all. Later on I”ll add soil (sandy paste and white pumice), grass (Mini natur) and lichen (ground sponge).


Next part - painting:) If I won't forget to take pictures of every step.



27 Sept 2011

Tips and Tricks part 1

Few things I learned at Euro Militaire.

1. Priming.
Till now I was using light gray Mr. Hobby spray (Mr. Surfacer 1200) all over the mini and then white from the top to simulate zenital lightning. Thanks to that I had a general idea how I should place lights on my mini. Well that is nothing new and almost everyone is using this technique. But recently someone pointed out that I can use black (or dark gray) colour from the bottom, to simulate, and place deepest shadows. Thanks to that you have full range of 'light' on your mini, from white to black. Quite easy trick, that should help you a lot with placing highlights and shadows in the right places, and with achieving better contrast.  I tried this method on my Ghoul bust and even if that's not the right kind of mini to do that (basically because it's widest at the bottom and it was hard to work precisely with aerograph), I can see use of this method in my work flow. Especially now, when I'm trying to do all my lights and shadows in black and white, adding colours at the end.

As you can see I was pretty delicate with  the dark gray paint, but even now some shades are visible (especially on his cheeks and collarbones).
Colours I used so far:
Base: Mr. Surfacer 1200 (thin layer over a light green resin, so you can still see delicate greenish tint)
Lights: Morrow White - P3
Shadows: Adeptus Battlegrey - Citadel Foundation

2. Acrylic paints
I have no idea why I never thought of painting minis with acrylic paint used by 'mainstream' painters. Probably I just assumed, that they' re not good for miniature painting. But as it turned out, I was wrong. Folks from Knight Models use them and achieve astonishing results. Here you can see few of their works:
(c) Knight Models

As far I understand those paints have few advantages over acrylics dedicated for miniatures:
- stronger pigment,
- allow to achieve better contrast,
- mat finish

Well in that case I need to give them a try;] I even have one particular set from W&N in my mind:) I'm just not sure how about their durability, but anyway, I paint only display minis, so it shouldn't be a problem for me.

3. Faces.
Here are some pictures I took in the competition room. As you can see they're historical pieces, mostly busts.  But who said that fantasy painters can't learn from our 'older' friends?
Check out the contrast, the richness of midtones, all the different colours painters used to paint the face... We should definitelly try to achieve similar results. Of course it's impossible to get exactly the same results with 28mm minis, but the general idea is the same: contrast, contrast and contrast once more, with a lot of different colours in between. And when it comes to the larger scale... there is even more room to experiment.



20 Sept 2011

Like I could ever restrain myself...

My new babes:)
Sculpted by Romain van den Bogaert for JMD miniatures.
I bought them at Euro and can't decide which one will first end up under the brush.


Both are beautiful pieces,  nicely done, and full of details and character. Octopus has more flaws but still, it's way more complicated sculpt than the ghoul.
And for both of them I have few colour schemes to choose from (I should buy more than just one from each;p), so next few days should be fun.


19 Sept 2011

Euro Militaire - results

Hi there,

I'm back at home, even manged to catch some sleep, and now I can share with you my good news.
I entered 3 miniatures: Smart Max's Little Alice and Lord Marquis of Carabas, and Rackham's Eclipsante.
It was a competition with an open system of judging, and the results are:
Alice - Gold
Eclipsante - recomended
Marquis - nothing (he clearly didn't deserved, now I can see how much work he still requires)

I managed to take some pictures of entries, you can find them here.


17 Sept 2011

Off we go:)

Weekend full of miniature wonders is ahead of me. I must say I'm really excited and expect quite a lot from Euro Militaire. It's gonna be my first such big event, so I have my camera and few sets of batteries ready.
And finger crossed the weather will be good, it's a seaside after all;]


10 Sept 2011


Candles are pretty easy to made. You just need: sticks (I used the ones from cotton thingies to clean ears;p) thin wire to make candlewick, bit of gs to fix it inside the 'candle' and plenty PVA glue and patience.

1.Creating a candle
Cut sticks into pieces (as long as you require), fix it to the flat surface temporarily i.e. with blue tac (or you can fix it where it should be for good with a gs formed in the shape of melted wax), fix a wire on the top (you can make the flame first or just leave the wire a bit longer to do that later) and then start placing glue to imitate melted wax.
I was doing that with a thin brush, just placing a drop of glue on the top of the candle letting it to go down. You're gonna need a lot of layers to build up and ofc sometimes you'll start not from the top but somewhere in the middle to make the melted wax look better and more natural.

Here is the picture of finished candles, but because PVA glue is white it's quite hard to see what exactly is happening there, so next you can see candles after priming.

2. Flames.
I did it in two steps. First I had to create general shape of the flame, and later, when gs was hard enough, I added a bit to make it a bit wider at the bottom. Probably I could do it at one time, but my skill with gs is not great yet;p
And of course not every flame is perfect, but in group they look good enough.

3. Fixing candles to the surface.
Like I said before, you can use gs to do that, but I decided to do it with a PVA glue. And just like with melted wax on the candles, I placed small amounts of glue around the candle to create a round-ish shape of melted wax:

4. Painting
There is no one good recipe how to paint candles. Everything depends on your other light sources. If the additional light source is strong enough it would be look something like that:

If candles are the strongest light source on your base, just the tips of them would be bright and bottoms hidden in shadows with a stripe of more intense colour in the middle, like on this pictures:

As for the colours you could use, all depends on the colour of the wax you like. I used 'Menoth White Base' from P3 as a base colour, Offwhite (70820 Vallejo model color) for highlights,  Sepia shade (78200 Vallejo wash) for shading, and some yellow glazes to warm candles a bit.

4. Painting a flame.
That was tough I must say. Looking at various photos of burning flames I had one idea how to do that, but miniatures painted already, were saying something completely different.  But because 'miniature way' is more spectacular, I decided to go this way.
So, following this article: Fire - theory, I made bright bottoms and orange tops.

5. Painting OSL on the floor....
That's something I'm still trying to figure out how to do properly, so I'm not gonna even try to give you any advices on that subject.
Maybe just a few pictures:


9 Sept 2011

8 days left

Only 8 (eight!!!!) days left till Euro Militaire and Smart Max competition deadline. I gues for me it's the highest time to start seriously panicking;]
But there is still a chance that I'll finish my entries, so please keep your finger crossed.
I could show you WIP but my painting process isn't tidy and methodical. I need to work on that, but maybe later, now there is no time for experiment.


8 Sept 2011

Coral reef

This tutorial is really simple and really short. I'm just gonna describe materials I used to create my version of something you can call reef. I deliberately  did that this way, as a sort of shore during the outflow, to alow my Walter to run thorugh shallow water (the water is not there yet, because I'm s till working on that mini).
But you can use the same method and materials to create proper reef with deep water.

But first few reference pictures:

As you can see reef is full of vibrant colours and various shapes.
To recreate  this I used:

1. Caribou moss (wiki)
Some of you might think that it's the last thing  you would use on your base (and in any other case I'd probably  agree) but in this case it defends itself pretty good.

2. Xanthoria parietina -  leafy type of lichen  (wiki)
My favourite  thingy I use for basing. You can find it growing on the roofs, bricks and trees. You can use both, middle and edges to create different effects.

3. Drop of superglue. To create this kind of shape, you'll need deep bowl filled with water and superglue. Just drip a glue into the water and wait a while for the glue to cure. You need deep bowl and a lot of water to prevent drops of glue from reaching the bottom and sticking to it;]
Smaller drops will stay on the surface, creating flat shapes you can use as a shelf coral, bigger will drown, creating round-ish shapes of brain coral.

And when it comes to painting all those weird things, it's an easy and quite pleasant process. Paints stick to the surface of lichen without any problems.  Well they soaks slightly in the caribou moss, but it's not a problem anyway.
Just remember to use more contrast than normal if you're planning to cover it with a thick layer of water.

And I think that's all
Ways, how you can use those materials, types of reef you can create, are limited only by your imagination.