Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A different view of the Copplestone Gangster

I've been improving when it comes to photographing miniatures over the last few months but I wanted to try something new.  So I had a go at making a video of one of my miniatures and will probably include one with each post from now on.  I hope you enjoy it.

I used a solar powered turntable which cost £5 from ebay and my usual background.

What do you think? Is a video a good addition to the Blog or  is it unnecessary?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Copplestone Castings Gangster

This is the first of the Copplestone Castings Gangsters Mubaris has asked me to paint for his 1936 Savage Worlds Pulp game.  

He caused me some serious problems.  Well its not fair to put the blame on him, as it wasn't really his fault.  First the primer (Games Workshop) didn't work very well and the coverage wasn't too even and second the paint didn't attach to the primer base coat at all well and rubbed off on a couple of occasions and had to be repainted.  

The next problem was with the Tiny Worlds cobblestone resin base.  I didn't wash it properly and the Imperial Primer (again Games Workshop) that I use on these bases wouldn't stick.  I ended up having to put three or four coats on.  That was entirely my fault though and no blame should be laid at Tiny World's door.

Yahoo Serious - Inspiring Games Workshop
brush design since 1988
While i'm having a go at Games Workshop I also have to say their 'Fine Detail' brushes have been giving me grief too.  They consistently fail to hold a point and after a few uses tend to look like they were designed to look like Yahoo Serious' hairstyle. 

I bought some Army Painter brushes today to try out and so far they are much better.  We'll see how well they last.  Ideally I want to get Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes but until I can get some the Army Painter ones will get a chance to prove their reliability.

As you can guess i'm not very happy with Games Workshop products today.  But I am happy with how this sinister looking Gangster turned out, I hope Mubaris is too.

Another Milestone

This blog has now hit 10,000 views, which isn't a huge number compared to some but certainly makes me happy and motivated to continue posting about painting, Role Playing and where to get great miniatures from.

Huge thanks to everyone who visits regularly and those that pop by occasionally.  To those that arrive here by accident and run screaming I can only apologize.

I'll post the next update on views when we hit 20k and when it doubles from then on.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

1930s Gangster Style

Not painted by me
Nope, not it's not another Korean pop parody but the latest batch of miniatures I've been given by Mubaris to paint for his Pulp game.

These beauties come from Copplestone Castings and although the range isn't as outlandish as Bob Murch's Pulp Miniatures they do benefit from being much more realistic.  One of the added benefits is that they come with slotta bases so are easier to pin to resin bases. Which is a good thing as the bases that came with them are really small.

Not painted by me
Hopefully I'll be able to get these primed over the next couple of days and get them painted.

This is also the first post I've put up with the Blogger App from my mobile so my apologies if it's a bit odd looking.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Mr Big the Pulp Miniature

I finished another of Mubaris' miniatures for his 30s Pulp game, this one is I suspect destined to be a Mr Big so I painted him to be an wealthy 'respectable businessman'.

The miniature is Jasper Gutworth from Bob Murch's Pulp Figures range.  In my opinion this is one of his better sculpts and was very enjoyable to paint.

I have a lot of suited gangster miniatures to paint for this particular game and the choices for suit colours are going to be a bit restricted to browns, blues and greys and blacks so I wanted this one to stand out a bit and show a bit of flair.

Hopefully the pinstripe green suit with the rather fetching green/yellow suit & pocket handkerchief will fit the bill.  The pin striping was a bit of a pain to paint freehand and is actually the base colour with a drop of yellow to lighten it.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Move over Indiana Jones, there a new guy in town!

Just a quick post to share the latest 1930s miniature I completed for Mubaris (my regular GM).  This one is from Pulp Figures and sculpted by Bob Murch.

This one is clearly based on Indiana Jones but is called Carson Smith.  I'm not a huge fan of all of Bob Murch's sculpts as his proportions are sometimes a bit off (the head compared to the hips and the length of the legs looks odd) but the detail is good and its all balanced out by some really cool characterizations.

The rope in his left hand was probably supposed to be a whip but for this character a rope was more appropriate.  I also gave him a rugged 5 o'clock shadow which looks better in person than in photos.

More Pulp miniatures to come, next will be a bearded Russian Spy and an overweight businessman.  Which should I do first?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Repainting the Heroclix Drax miniature

Our upcoming Pulp 1936 game is going to be heavy on the gangsters and all American heroes.  But role playing wouldn’t be role playing without the odd unusual character.  Whether it’s the thief with a fear of small spaces or the Mighty Paladin who just happens to be a female Gnome with a serious chip on her shoulder these characters often generate incredibly memorable role playing moments.

Malifaux's Kang (Not painted by me)
It’s therefore with some anticipation that I’m looking forward to this game.  I’ll be playing a masked crime fighter similar to The Shadow and his (fairly) trusty sidekick will be a nearly seven foot tall black mechanic from the deep south with a body of an African Apollo called Jericho.

You can imagine the challenge in finding an appropriate miniature!

My first step was of course Google Images.  I searched for 28mm Black Engineers, miniature mechanics and half a dozen other search terms and got a few results.  The first was Kang from the Malifaux Rail Crew box set, he would have been suitable as he’s quite tall and the hammer could have been changed to a crowbar (Jericho’s signature weapon), but it would have been too expensive to buy the box set for a single miniature when I couldn't use the others in the set.
Superfigs John Henry (Not painted by me)

Next I found the John Henry miniature from Superfigs.  Not only is he black he was wearing overalls and again the hammer could be swapped for a crowbar quite easily.  But unfortunately he’s out of production and only available at quite a high cost from the U.S.  He also looks a bit short.

So by chance I stumbled on the Drax figure by Heroclix.  Now I normally stay well away from these pre-painted figures as they aren't the right scale and the sculpting is often not particularly good.

But as the Drax figure was available in the UK (on Ebay) for just £2 I thought I’d give it a try.  And I was most pleased with the results.

Under the ham-fisted paint job the miniature has been sculpted really well, the musculature was nicely defined without  being bulky and the face, despite my first concerns, did have enough detail to work as a character model.  

The last worry I had was would he be too big?  Heroclix models are roughly 1/48th scale and the ones I use are closer to 1/56 scale.  

Heroclix Drax & Pulp Miniatures Carson Smith
I cut away the Heroclix base (which is very deep), pinned his feet and fitted him to one of the lower profile scenic bases I got from Tiny Worlds, standing him next to another of the 1936 character models he looks like a giant but appropriately does look about 7 feet tall.

I cut away his silvery blaster and knife, smoothed over the marks and fitted a crowbar I made from a paperclip.  As this was mostly a test and he already had a coat of paint I didn't bother to prime him and painted straight over the green and red skin with a mixture of dark brown and khaki.  

After I’d applied several light washes of Agrax Earthshade and lots of highlights with progressively lighter skin tones I was happy with the result.

I repainted the boots as they were really shiny but the jeans looked fine as did the belt so I left them.  

The final touch, which should have been the first in hindsight, was the eyes.  I wasn't confident that this figure would actually be usable so jumped straight in with the skin rather than doing the eyes first and had to backtrack a bit when it became apparent that it was going to work out well.

Heroclix miniatures might not work well in all situations but for this character I think he’s just right.  

What do you think?  Have you had any luck with re-painting Heroclix miniatures before? 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

World Works Games: Terraclips Dungeon Essentials

My son has been sitting on a big pile of cash since his birthday in November, he considered buying some Lego but in the end after a trip to our local games store he decided that he wanted the Terraclips Dungeon Essentials pack from World Works Games.  I think these sets are particularly well suited for Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and most fantasy Savage Worlds settings. 

This pack wasn't cheap at £35.00 but you do get a pretty good selection of push out card floors, walls, doors and a few bits of dungeon scenery.  There's enough to build three or four decent sized rooms with corridors, stairs and doors.

What you don't get however, is the plastic clips to hold the pieces together.  You have to buy these separately for another £12.50.  World Works Games is pretty up front about them not being included and you could glue the parts together but that would defeat the purpose of modular card stock scenery.

In its favour, this pack is visually quite impressive, the parts fit together well both mechanically and artistically and there are lots of different ways to build dungeons with it.  There are two other sets in the Terraclips Dungeon Rise range, Vaults of Ruin and Prison of the Forsaken, with all three sets I imagine you can make some very impressive dungeon lairs and there are other compatible sets for a sewer system, marketplace and various buildings.

The set is also quite practical for the weekly gamer, it can be cleared away or transported easily, not something I can say about resin scenery!  But fundamentally the price is quite a considerable barrier.  The full set of Dungeon Rise will cost you just under £150.00.  If you add on a pack of each the other sets you'll be looking at £300.00 in total which is pretty steep, but I suspect you'll have everything you'll ever need when it comes to fantasy scenery.  

Monday, 7 January 2013

Pulp Miniatures Freakish Flunky

I finished another of Mubaris' figures this evening.  When we discussed how he wanted them painted he specified that he didn't want this model to be bare chested and I suggested I could paint a t-shirt on.  I toyed with the idea of painting tattoos or hairs on his arms and giving him 5 o'clock shadow but in the end just went with a clean straight forward approach.

I thought the white t-shirt and blue jeans would be quite appropriate and would let him be used for games ranging from the 1920s right up to the modern day, also I can always add tattoos or stubble later if Mubaris wants them.

The newspaper in the gutter is actually a scale print out of a real 1935 New York Times front page I found on Google images, rolled up and washed with black and brown it looks like a discarded paper and adds some interest to the base.

Now the base was good and bad.  I really like how it looks and it works well with the model but a tiny air bubble opened up by his right foot in the final stages of painting, ideally I would fill it and repaint the area but as its so tiny and its on a curb stone I don't think its a particular necessity.  I'll let Mubaris decide if he's bothered by it.

Tomorrow i'll start working on the (Not) Indiana Jones figure.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Pulp Miniatures and pinning miniatures to resin bases

My regular GM (Mubaris) is planning a 1936 based Savage Worlds game and for Christmas was treated to a number of the Pulp Miniatures packs.  He asked me to paint them which I was very happy to do.  As this coincided nicely with my Tiny Worlds scenic resin bases arriving I thought i'd do a work in progress post with a little how to guide.

To pin a miniature to a scenic base you'll need a few tools, pliers, clippers, a file, a craft knife and a very small drill.  The one at the top of the photo is called a Pin Vise or Archimedes Drill which you can pick up from ebay for a couple of pounds.  

Ideally a Dremel Rotary Tool should be used to cut the miniature away from the base or slotta bar.  You then need to drill a hole up through the leg and glue a 4-6mm piece of wire into the hole.  
Next pop a dab of bright coloured paint on the end of the pin and place the figure where you want it to be on the base.  This will give you a guide point for where to drill.

Its a good idea to check the pin fits both holes before you glue anything, a mistake here can be a real pain to fix!

I pinned and prepared five of the Pulp Miniature models ready for painting and managed to complete one today, the rest will be done during the rest of this week.  I still have another fourteen of these figures to do so i'll be pretty busy with them for the foreseeable future! 

The one I chose to complete was the African Explorer and I pinned the Bulldog to his base.  I painted both in quite similar colours and I think the dog does look a bit like its owner.

What do you think?

click to zoom
click to zoom

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Resin Scenic Bases

30mm Lipped Cobblestone

I'm not very good at bases.  I'm happy with how my painting is progressing but my bases are to say the least pretty basic (if you'll excuse the pun).  So imagine my excitement this morning when I received my package from Tiny Worlds Wargaming.

30mm Lipped Slate
I haven't used Tiny Worlds before and found them through eBay.  They have a pretty decent website though so i'll order direct from now on.  I ordered two packs (x10) of 30mm Slate lipped bases, one pack of 30mm Cobblestone lipped bases, one pack (x4) of 50mm slate lipped bases and one pack (6) of 40mm Dungeon bases.  Each pack was £4.49 but they refunded me £2.00 of the postage bringing the total to under £20.00.
30mm Lipped Dungeon

The order took 7 days to arrive which isn't bad when you consider this was over new year and a weekend (so four working days).

The cobblestone bases will be used for the 1930s pulp game my regular GM is going to run, the Slate ones will be used for most everything else and the dungeon bases will be reserved for larger fantasy monsters like the Bones Ogres i've got coming in March.

Initial impressions are very good, the details are crisp and well defined yet still look natural, each base is randomly picked from a fairly large selection so repetition isn't a major issue.  I'm not entirely sure how easy it will be to drill the bases so I can fix the miniatures to them but i'm sure it will be something I can figure out.

30mm Lipped Slate
Now as long as the weather stays dry i'll prime them tomorrow and get painting!  

Friday, 4 January 2013

We all started somewhere (most of us with Games Workshop)

An early Burge from his 'Incompetent' period
I've just been inspired by another Blog.  Tommie at The Rainy City Painter Blog has had the courage to put up some photos of his earliest painting examples and I thought I should emulate his example and do the same.

I'm not in the same class as Tommie (who is a fantasticly talented artist) but I think it would be interesting to put up some of my earliest crimes against painting.  Please mock gently.

I was pretty pleased with this one at the time, I tried to get this Ratskin (from Necromunda) to resemble a North American Indian and wanted a natural buckskin colour for the trousers which worked quite well and the war paint was ok.   

The gun was just base coated and black washed.

These Van Saar Gangers were another of my favourites, Brown Ink washed with watered down black ink, no highlights except solid gold on the raised panels.  I remember being quite proud of the green Plasma Cannon and the Chainsword but the painting is ruined by the horrible faces I did.

The Skaven Blood Bowl players were a big step forward and were probably the last figures I painted before my very long (about 15 years) break.  I ut more effort into the bases, there was blending and shading and a better understanding of colour theory.

And we're back to artistic atrocities!  This was another Necromunda miniature, will you just look at the freaky eyes on that poor thing.  I think I knew what I wanted him to look like but didn't have a clue how to make it all work together.  I suppose the leather trousers and boots looked ok but the rest is pretty terrible.
And as for the Vindicare Assasin, all I can say is i'm deeply sorry to the original sculptor for doing this to his work.  This is obviously where I thought a clever idea was a good alternative to actually painting properly.
I am on the other hand very happy with these Goblins.  I was, and still am very satisfied with how the Moon Standard worked out and with the exception of the pink lips and a lack of skin highlighting I wouldn't do all that much differently these days, especially for a really large unit like these ones were in.

Finally, we have my Blood Angels army.  Dreadfull really.  I used to just paint them Blood Red and Gold and wash with black ink.  The plasma gun was pretty decent though.  The Apothecary on the left was the first Space Marine I ever painted.