Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Samurai Part 14 and a few other announcements

With about a week left until Crystal Brush, I've just about finished the samurai... at least the figure itself.  I've still got to paint the shoes and touch up the arrow heads in the quiver, but the figure is essentially finished.  The base is another matter.  It's been built, but the painting is just beginning.  I'm a bit stressed out by how little time there is to finish it, but I'll find some way to get it done to a level I'm happy with.  I'm going to save the truly finished photos for after the Crystal Brush, so these will be the last ones I post for another week and a half.

I've also put the finishing touches on the Northumbrian.  Like the samurai, I'm saving the final pictures for after the show... but I thought I'd still post something.  Here's a look at the figure from the back.  You can see the final weathering on the shield (including the scratches added to the metallic parts) and the snow effects on the base.

In other news, I wanted to remind everyone that there is an online voting component for the Crystal Brush.  Half the score is decided by the onsite judges and half by online votes over at CoolMiniOrNot.  You have to have an account there to vote, but it's free to create one.  Voting will take place Saturday, April 2nd (starting around 3 pm central time) and Sunday, April 3rd (ending at noon central time).  There should be a lot of amazing figures up in the gallery.  Artists like Ben Komets, Kirill Kanaev, Karol Rudyk, Aaron Lovejoy, Jessica Rich, and many others will be submitting entries.  Voting is the normal 1-10 scale, so take a look and rate the pieces what you think they deserve.

Finally, for anyone in or near the Southern California area, our local modeling club is putting on a show next month.  Come check it out!  There are categories for historical as well as sci-fi and fantasy figures.  Judging is on the open or merit system, so you're competing against a standard rather than against each other.  So even if you're not a pro, your work can still be recognized!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Northumbrian Part 8

Been pretty quite here this month.  I've been fighting off a cold and was away from home last weekend.  Hopefully this weekend will be nice and quiet and I can try to finish up the samurai figure.  In the meantime, I decided to do a little work on the Northumbrian.  I haven't touched this guy since September, but I'm planning to use his as my entry for Historical Single Figure at the Crystal Brush competition so I need to get him wrapped up.  All I've got left to do on this one is paint the base and do a few final touches (weathering) to the figure.

I took the base that came with the figure and extended the groundwork out to the edges of the wood plinth.  I used the same colors from the figure (browns, grays, and blues) to paint the base so it kept the muted feel of the rest of the piece.  I plan on making this a winter snow covered scene, so I did not worry too much about the dirt.  I still needed to paint it and the rocks since, until I actually put down the snow, I'm not sure what might show through.  I probably spent the most time on the tree stump as that will definitely be above the snow.  I also added some dead leaves and yellow grass.  I'll use some pigments on the grass so it's not all so one note with the color.  Again, most of that will be covered by snow, but some may stick through and make the scene look more interesting.

I want to do a little more painting on the shield and then weather the figure (and base) with pigments.  Once that's done I'll go about adding the snow.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Samurai Part 13

I've been getting back to work on the samurai, focusing on some of the small details.  This project has given me a chance to work on painting black armor.  Black is a color I've had trouble with, but I think I've finally figured out an approach that seems to work for me.  Normally I start with the shadows and work up to the highlights.  That hasn't worked well with black.  The wet paint tends to look darker than it is, so as I work lighter the blends look okay when wet, but then the transitions don't work when they dry.  So, this time around I've started to work light to dark.  I begin with a dark base coat to fill in all those cracks.  Then I sketch in the highlights and gradually blend them down to the dark tone.  It's not perfect, I still need to spend some more time getting used to the technique and working on where I place those initial highlights... but in general I'm quite happy with the results.  Here's a close up of the armor on his lower leg so you can see what I've been doing.

I've been adding the last few pieces to the kit.  The main addition was the left hand with the bow.  I also added the bow string.  This wasn't too difficult, but it helped to do it in several stages.  First I cut a string longer than it should be and glued the center to the inside of the fingers on his right hand.  Once that dried, I pulled each end to the corresponding end of the bow and glued it there (just the first contact point).  Again, I waited until it was dry.  Then I wrapped it around the end of the box and tied it off (adding a little more glue to fix it into place).  I've painted the glove and the end of his sleeve (continuing the pattern that I had created before).  I've also attached the arrows in his quiver, though they are just base coated and still need more work.  The arrow in the bow is just resting in place.  I plan to leave it off while I paint the other parts just to avoid damaging this fragile part.