Wednesday, February 22, 2017


I'm in the process of trying to finish up some other projects.  Did a little work in the past few days on the Dragoon Officer, did some sketching on the Deaths Head Hussar bust, and of course I need to get back to the Celt.  We've got the SCAHMS show coming up in a month and a half, so I'd like to get at least two of those three projects finished so I can bring them to the show.  Progress has been minimal, but when I get a little more done I will share some photos here.

In the meantime, I've started to plan out a future project.  Black Sun Miniatures just put up a new centaur figure for pre-order.  The sculptor, Joaquin Palacios, also recently did a centaur for Terrible Kids Stuff, but I happen to like the Black Sun one better.  The kit actually comes in two versions, one with an elf rider and one without.  I'm happy they're offering both versions as I just wasn't that big a fan of the elf.  Anyway, I just pre-ordered the centaur and started to think what I want to do with it.  The figure has a great action pose, rearing up with a spear ready to strike.  It's a cool figure by itself, but the pose is just crying out to be paired with another figure for a duel-type scene.  I looked through a lot of companies that carry 75mm figures, considering both fantasy figures, historical knights (which can be used for fantasy), and Greek figures (for more of a mythological setting).  I came up with several possible options, but I think the best may be the Barbarian from Scale75.  Using photoshop and images I grabbed from online, I put together some rough mock ups on how I think these figures will look together.  Here's what I came up with...

Another top contender is Leonidas (also from Scale75).  My main issue with that piece is the figure is essentially naked (except for a cape, helmet, and greaves).  I'd want to sculpt on some clothing/armor if I were to use him.  I could either keep him as a Greek warrior, and go with a mythological theme, or replace the head as well and use him as a knight/warrior for a fantasy piece.  Since I'm not too confident in my sculpting abilities (even if just for conversion), I'm still leaning towards the barbarian... but perhaps I'll change my mind.

I thought about adding another warrior to the mix, but couldn't quite find a figure to fit.  A friend on one of the forums suggesting a non-fighter figure like a woman or a child.  I like this idea as it takes a neat looking duel scene and adds some stakes to the outcome.  Is the barbarian trying to rescue the girl?  If so, will he succeed?  Or perhaps the centaur is her protector and the barbarian the aggressor.  Will she be safe?  Switching it up and having the barbarian be the bad guy would be interesting.  Of course, since the centaur is larger, the barbarian seems like the underdog.  In which case, perhaps I should stick with him as the good guy.

I started to look around for a figure that might work in the non-fighter role.  El Viejo Dragon has a lot of female figures in 75mm, but none seemed quite right.  Plus, most are naked and I'd probably want to sculpt on at least some clothes.  I looked at some other companies and I think my best bet may be this fairy figure from Aradia Miniatures:
I'd probably ditch the wings (easy enough to do).  I could treat her as a human or maybe a fantasy creature like a dryad, naiad, nymph, etc.  I could portray that with coloring (non-human flesh tones) and/or conversions like horns/antlers, replacing the lower legs with those of a faun, etc.  What I pick will influence the story.  As a human, it's implied she's on the barbarian's side and he's rescuing her.  As a fantasy creature, perhaps the centaur is her guardian instead.  Another option is the Fallen Angel figure I just finished.  The one I did was 54mm, but Milosh has a 75mm version too.  As with the fairy, I could leave off the wings and make her a regular human or convert into a fantasy creature too.  Her pose works best for captive.

So, lots of text and not so much painting, but I just wanted to share my thought process and hopefully wet your appetites for this upcoming project.  As always, it will be interesting to see how similar or different the end result will be to these early plans.  Probably won't actually start this for a couple months (don't think the centaur will ship till late March and I've got other stuff on my plate).  But I'd love to get this done in time for next year's Crystal Brush, so I do want to get going on this before too long!

As a final thought, when it comes to creating a scene, sometimes that can come together organically as you go.  That's what happened to me with the hobbit piece.  I started with just the figure holding a lantern and the rest just sort of happened.  In this case, what I want multiple figures to look like they are interacting, I think it helps to plan beforehand.  That way I can start to build the base and get the figures positioned convincingly.  That doesn't mean things won't evolve as I go, but in this instance I want to start with more of the scene figured out.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Fallen Angel Part 5

Here are the pictures of the finished Fallen Angel.  I've wrapped up the work on the wings and applied some additional glazes to the base (plus some little tweaks here and there).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fallen Angel Part 4

Almost finished with this project, just a little more detail work to do.  Since my last post I've been focusing on the base.  The idea was to have to it look like a summoning ritual.  I began with the basic structure made out of cork.

On top of that, I applied some sculptamold for texture and more refined shape.  Then I glued on some sand for yet more texture.  I wanted to add some candles around the circle, so I inserted some wires which I would then cover with greenstuff.

And here's how the base looks with some paint on it.  I still want to make some tweaks and adjustments, but the overall look I wanted is there.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fallen Angel Part 3

I'm trying to wrap up some old projects, one of which is this angel figure from Milosh Miniatures.  My last post on this one was way back in June of last year, so it's been on hold for a while.  To refresh your memories, I decided to paint her up as a fallen angel with a more demonic color scheme (unnatural looking pale flesh, red eyes, and black hair and wings).  The reason I put this figure on hold was the wings.  They have the basic feather shapes, but not the fine details (the barbs).  I wanted to paint it so they appeared to be there, but wasn't quite sure how to pull it off.

I decided to take this on by first painting the basic highlighting/shading for the main feather shapes and then paint parallel black lines to give the impression of the fine details.  Worked well enough, but I've been going back over it all to adjust and try and improve the look.  So far I've done 3/4's the the wings and still need to finish the underside of the right wing.  But I plan to continue to tweak the rest of the wings as I go.

I actually think they look a bit better when viewed from the top.  From the side I feel they still need more work, so I'm doing my best to figure out how to fix that.

In addition to working on the wings, I've gone in with glazes to adjust the skin.  It's all pretty subtle, but from this close up of the face you can see some of the red/purple shades in the cheeks.  The glazes where applied other places too, this is just the easiest spot to show.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Time, Practice, and Some Help

I posted this on Facebook yesterday, but thought I should share it here too.  I started this blog back in 2014, but my painting journey began long before that.  I was thinking about what a difference time, practice, and a bit of help can make....

A few recent conversations had me reflecting on how far I've come with the figure painting hobby. So I started looking back at some old projects. I took a few representative pictures for comparison. These are all close ups of faces from busts (so similar scales and all display figures). I painted my first gaming figure around 20 years ago, but it wasn't until 2010 that I got interested in display/competition painting. So this is a look back at some of those early display pieces and a comparison with more recent work.

Practice and a desire to improve (including critically evaluating my own work and seeing what needed improvement) played a big role. But, perhaps just as important, was attending shows/competitions to see what others could do (so I had something to strive for) and all the amazingly helpful artists on the online forums and blogs. Thank you to all of them for the advice and the inspiration. And, whether you're a pro or an amateur, keep sharing your work. It's a wonderful resource for all the people in this hobby!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Celt Part 2

I'm a bit slow in posting the update here, sorry!  I've made some decent progress on the Celt.  Since last time I've been working on the body, mostly the front of his torso and one of the arms.  Haven't had many long painting sessions due the family obligations and the holidays, so easier to work in small chunks I can actually finish in a short sitting.  The back and other arm still need work, but I'll get there.  As with the face, I'm placing spot highlights in places to try to give him a satin-like finish.  One of the keys to these that I've found are making sure you are consistent with how you're placing them.  In this case, I imagine the light is above but slightly to his left.  So the reflection point on each shape has to match that location for the light.  Easy to forget if you're not careful and I've had to make a few corrections as I go where things aren't quite matching up.

I thought I'd show a side by side progression on the face.  The first image is the work from last time.  The middle image has the hair added in and details like the lips (skin shadow + red, then skin highlight added in).  The final image looks similar, but has subtle variations added with glazes.  There's red in the cheeks, on the tip of the nose, and bottom of the ears.  I did a very subtle blue glaze on the chin and jaw to hint at stubble (but didn't want to overdo that).  It takes more layers for the glazes to show up against this darker skin (as opposed the light skin I normally paint), but that can be addressed.  In the end, I was happy keeping it subtle because that felt right for this subject (rather than exaggerated red on the nose/cheeks).  But more layers of glaze would have increased the color had I wanted to.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Celt Part 1

I'm still hopping from project to project.  A while back I agreed to do a figure exchange with a friend.  I didn't want to take forever to finish (or even start) this, so I'm putting my personal projects on hold for a bit to make some progress on this guy.

The figure we chose was a 70mm Celt from Art Girona.  It's a neat sculpt, though the casting leaves something to be desired.  A bunch of pitting that I had to fix.  I've got a couple figures from Art Girona and they've all had one issue or another.  I like some of their sculpts, but the quality of the casting on the ones I've received means I probably won't buy from them again.

Anyway, this is a cool sculpt of a barbarian holding a severed head, presumably a Roman's head.  I gave the figure a quick base coat and then started shading and highlighting the face.  I wanted to try a different skin mix than I typically use.  I thought this would work better for a barbarian.  Instead of my normal base of Rosy Shadow, I used a 50/50 mix of Rosy Shadow and Bronzed Shadow.  For the shadows I used a 60/40 mix of Chestnut Brown and Basic Dirt along with maybe 10% of the base color.  For the deepest shadows I added some Walnut Brown.  The highlights were a 50/50 mix of Fair Skin and Bronzed Highlight, then some Pure White for the final shine on the skin.

Here's a close up of the face.  I included another face I did with my old skin mix for comparison.  I'm not done with this new face yet, will probably make a few tweaks and then apply a number of glazes.  But I like how the new mix looks.  I'll definitely keep it as an option for future projects.