Friday, July 19, 2013

The Axeman!

If you drive a car, I'll axe the street,
If you try to sit, I'll axe your seat.
If you get too cold I'll axe the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll axe your feet.

Cos I'm the axeman, yeah I'm the axeman!

This guy only took me perhaps 3 hours total, spread over an evening, which is blinding speed for me. It is also my favorite mini that I've painted so far, and not just because I have wanted to own a White Lion since I was young.

Everything just kind of worked on this model. The non-metalic metal, which I have been struggling with, is the best I have achieved so far, and in two different colors too! I especially like the side of the helmet pictured above. The axe head is another story...I'm not saying I still don't have plenty to work on.

But it is an encouraging step... so encouraging that I'm now thinking of converting some Mantic elf scouts into a Pro Elf team for the Chaos Cup this year, and that would mean plenty more NMM in this style. I'd better get moving, though. That's coming right up!

I was surprised by just how un-systematic painting this metal was. Sure, I had to plan somewhat carefully (you always do), but the things that really helped were 1) having all of the colors blended on my pallet, and 2) not being afraid to go back in with a color I had previously used. It is a much more 'painterly' approach, very different to the mindset in which you highlight with one color, move on to the next, and rarely go back.

I am also extremely pleased with the face. I don't often achieve that kind of expression, and it is quite gratifying. I think the reason it came out so good (for me) was that I was able to leave the deep shades in tact during the highlighting process, which really helped to define the features.

...Speaking of Blood Bowl conversions, I would also like to welcome a few of the new followers who I haven't formally acknowledged yet. These are Paaor, The One, Fireymonkeyboy, and Sir Skofis. Welcome and thank you for reading!

Firemonkeyboy is a contributor on multiple blogs that I read, and it is an honor to have him following, you should check out the links to his blogs on his profile.

I have only recently discovered Sir Skofis's excellent blog Sir Skofis's Workshop. He has excellent articles on converting and sculpting figures for Blood Bowl (which put my efforts to shame,) as well as astounding scratch-built 40k vehicles. Check him out! He deserves to be followed!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Another Dwarf and his - Slightly Larger - Hammer

Here we have another of the converted dwarf warriors, all painted up and ready to splinter iron-banded doors, bust the hinges off be-plated ne'er-do-wells, and test the reflex reactions of giants. 

What must it be like to be a bone-weary adventurer whose only worldly possessions are a super-massive hammer and a cloak made out of shag carpet? Tiring and warm, I'd bet.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how the figure came out. But here, as always, is where the litany of errors begins.

For one thing, the non-metallic metal, while marginally better than on his stout compatriot, is still kind of laughable-- not that I'm discontent, you understand, but one must recognize areas that need improving.

One other such area is in my model preparation. Specifically, I should really take more care and patience in removing mold lines. There are a couple here which do not show that much on the table, but are painfully obvious in the photos.

A further such area is in my hair sculpting. I really like the way the matted fur texturing came out, but the hair really looks flat by comparison.

The NMM on the hammer head is particularly ineffective. The rest just looks more or less gray.
On the plus side, I'm really starting to like the puddles on the bases. They're getting close to what I envision...just need a touch of something to capture that murky-but-reflective brilliance of unhappy pools under a wrathful sky.

Anyhow, go forth little bearded one. Hammer what needs hammering.

If you have any comments, just use your own hammer to bop the little button below. It's like whackamole.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Dwarf and His Hammer

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells,
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

--Over the Misty Mountains Cold, J.R.R. Tolkien

For some reason, that particular verse of that particular poem was echoing on loop while I painted this figure. I love that internal rhyme.

Anyway, here's one of those converted dwarf warriors all painted up. Above is a good example of the puddle effect I am developing for bases. Still needs work, but I'm getting there. You can also see the rudimentary non-metallic metal I tried to employ, especially on the shield below.

NMM is a tricky technique to get used to because it takes a lot of careful thought and a lot of patience with the blending...and honestly, I wasn't willing to take too much time on these particular figures. So I used paint that was a little thicker than it should have been and made transitions that were a little too abrupt. The result doesn't really look like metal, but it does have some contrast so I'm content.

I also need to work on brush direction. This is a basic principle that I always forget to follow, but it is one of the easiest ways to improve one's blending. Simply remember to draw the brush in the direction of the gradient of increasing pigment intensity (e.g. towards the brightest spot on a highlight.) The brush will naturally leave less paint at the beginning of the stroke than at the end. That way, one makes transitions rather than blocks of lighter color (which are instantly recognizable by the lines of their boundary--see the cloak highlight above.)

But that's why it can be nice to just churn out figures sometimes. It gives you ample mistakes from which to learn.

I'm sorry if this post was a little boring and obvious for some readers (among whom I know there are some excellent and experienced painters) but writing these things down helps me remember the things I need to work on.

Thanks for reading! Please share any tips you might find invaluable by painstakingly painting them into the comment box below.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Quick Promotion...

...For an illustrious wargaming blog that has just hit the big One Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero.

That's approximately 250,000 times the number of pageviews  for this blog. Yowza.
Apart from the fact that posting this means I get extra entries in his awesome prize draw, for which he is offering a number of excellent models and painting resources, I also want to encourage anyone who reads this to check out the Big Lee's Miniature Adventures blog in general. Big Lee is a very dedicated historical wargamer, and the articles and resources he posts are always interesting. His was one of the first hobby blogs I followed, and it went a long way in convincing me that I too could be a hobby blogger.

Thanks a million in deed, Mr. Big Lee. Congratulations.

For those Constant Readers looking for something a little more on-topic, hang in there. I will be updating again soon.