Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cote sniffing

Hello Ladies, how's the flower arranging this week?
My cote d'arms shipment arrived recently on the same day as my deluxe ceramic dimple palette- so an evening of old school painting commenced!
For those who do not know, Cote d'arms and citadels first line of paints are one and the same! Made by the same company, same formula, same colors and even the same dinky little pots. The same company makes p3 paints too- yay them!
When I discovered this little fact recently I immediately jumped online and ordered a set- since these where the paints I remember from before my huge mini hiatus- I vividly remember the smell and properties as if it was yesterday.
Well, the first three bottles smelt different - an almost alcohol tinged smell, but the black is exactly the scent I associate with The Monster paint set!
I was hurled back through time on the giddy wings of my nostrils to 1983.
Man, our clothes sucked.
The paints are brilliant- I highly recommend them, both on value and pigment. The deadly nightshade, blazing orange, titalating pink and goblin green are fabulous colors. The nice thing is a lot of the colors are toned down from the garish shades citadel switched to in the 1990s- and the cool/warm versions of colors are more exaggerated- so with the goblin green you get a pleasantly muted bluer green- perfect as a cool partner to the warm citadel camo green. The blazing orange is more akin to that which you see classic John blanche figured get their skin and sun shields- cooler and a little more towards the magenta hue than citadels current Chinese made brand.
It's shamefully cheaper for me to buy a big batch of cote d'arms and ship it 12,000 miles than it is to buy a smaller equivalent of citadel here, which will surprise no one.

I painted a classic masked citadel wizard based on one in a Colin Dixon diorama and I have to declare my love for the paint. Matching classic paint jobs is now so much easier now I have the same paints!
New pics when I get some time- I am blogging this on a bus between meetings. (sigh)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Repainting Dungeons and Dragons minis, The Guild and Windows.

Installing my entire computer system again.  As a digital artist who has been around the block a few times, that means a lot of software packages that all need nursing, registering and whatever...  Point is it was a long hot day with boredom and task bars.
Fortunately for me a package of D&D plastics arrived for me to tinker with whilst watching endless spinning gifs telling me my pc maybe hasn't crashed just yet.

So the good news is you can easily take off the paint.  Nail polish remover on a cotton bud and in a few minutes of gentle rubbing and voila.  Bad news is that there really isnt that much detail underneath to clean the mank off of.  Those figures may look like they are clogged up with paint... really they are just a bit smooth.

I was actually quite impressed with how some where painted- certainly good enough for playing Dnd- which is mostly in darkened living rooms with a map a few feet from you.  I would certainly consider them as a gaming option- especially now they are going to be rereleased in non-random packs.
Personally I would love to see them release unpainted styrene versions- even if just available via mail order.  But anyway- there you go.

I stripped down an Everfrost ranger, but it really wasnt worth the trouble IMHO.  I think the stripper may have taken off a little detail, which was superficial at best.  Spray primer and undercoat, and it was back to looking rubbery and gluggy.

So for test figure 2, I tried overpainting.  Rather than use spray primer, I washed the figures in soapy water to clean off any grease, and using a big brush and Vallejo dark grey gently drybrushed the model.  After this dried, the thin dusting of paint gave the next overbrush purchase- and voila, the model was nicely covered and ready to paint.  I would recommend this method to undercoat- perhaps only stripping really gluggy trouble spots using gentle cotton wipes.

I grabbed a hook horror, Lightening Lizard, Digester and Giant Carrion Crawler too- and the bigger creatures are much better than the human sized figures- the horror itself is excellent.  Grabbing plastic versions of really, really big nasties is a great solution- but I myself would run to Reaper for my player characters personally and Otherworld for all other monsters.

To get rid of the plasticy look on some of the monsters I first filled the gaps and then stippled Vallejo Plastic Putty using a pin and a sponge.  This put some fine texture on the smooth surfaces.  Green stuff sticks perfectly well, so details can be popped back on if you can be bothered.  I think I will write off the everfrost ranger as a bad experiment- but I can see my Hook Horror appearing in many a Skulldred game.

That was my hobby time for today.  Oh, and if you have not seen the delectable Felicia Day's hilarious websode series on MMOG addiction, you MUST watch the guild.  Every bit as great as the original Red vs. Blue.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

HEROQUEST challenge

Wayne Ashworth commented he was thinking of tackling the Heroquest game on an old blog entry and it got me thinking.  Of all the projects- thats the one isnt it?  Thats right up there in our collective gaming consciousness that sits like a dark cloud.  Very few of us have painted the whole Heroquest box.  We all wanted one... but how many of us had the patience to repeat and rince all those figures?

I got a fair whack of the way through my heroquest figures in a few days... though as I do not have the game so I did not have the motivation.  I found mine in a flea market, looking desperately played with.  I had to rescue them.  Here they are some of the undead so far...

Brains... and corn...

I have to confess that I have only ever played one or two games of Heroquest at highscool.  It reminded me of Guantlet, but with more waiting.  ;)
  I actually found a mint, unopened Heroquest I found in a dusty old atiques store and sold it on ebay for squillions and bazillions a while back.  I now live on an island and drink ice tea all day.


Anyway, the challenge is this.  Todays the day.  Go dig it out your heroquest from your attic and fetch out the first batch of figures.  Today is the day you start your COMPLETED heroquest project.  Yes you are... stop complaining.  Your going to feel FABULOUS when you finish.

So here is my advice on painting your set using regurgitated pictures from my blog to illustrate.

First.  Treat it like a bunch of small projects.  Today, tackle your cleanup and priming for your skeletons and mummies.  Cleaning them up is a vital step, because we are going to be using a lot of drybrush and it will show up any seams.

Skeletons and mummies are the easiest figures to paint- any monkey with a pot of Bevlan mud citadel wash can do them in no time.  Here is tip 2.  Dont look at the other figures.  Put them back in the box.  They do not exist until your skellies are varnished.  Having the others lined up waiting like a factory line will suck hit points out of your morale.  Small, bite sized chunks of awesome gets the job done.

I strongly suggest priming with tamiya grey primer before you spray your undercoat.  The plastic they used is kinda shiney- so if you just put wash directly onto the model it will bead and look awful.  The primer will act as a strong glue between your undercoat and your model- so heavy gaming will not chip the paint off easily.  Here is a test.  Take a model that you sprayed chaos black.  Rub it between your hands like its a cold day.  Now look at the mess you have.  Now, do the same with something sprayed first with primer.   You will never look back!  By the way, dont clap... throw money.

I use a black undercoat to keep the lining strong.  For the skellies you may like to go white and shade down with washes.  Whatever floats your boat.  A soft drybrush of a lighter grey or white over this will bring out the details and make it easy to see what your doing.   I use vallejo model color deep sea blue for this.

Tip number 3.  The important trick when painting mass armies of figures is to minimise steps.  And, dear reader, handling time is a major step.  Though you probably don't notice it, you spend a great deal of time picking up, looking for and reaching for and placing individual miniatures.  Sticking your models on a strip of wood in batches saves you a massive amount of steps- at least for the bulk of the stages.  Yay.

Strips.  A factory for fiends.
Citadel 1980's Elric, Moonglum, Norse Dwarf,
Rogue Trooper Nort, Judge Dredd and Anderson

Tip 4.  If you start with the undead, your going to get a big morale boost early on- they are easiest by far to paint, and are pretty much entirely bone color.

Start by going from this...

To this... is a real morale boost early on

  I recommend base coloring all the colors on all your models first, before shading and detailing.  This is not the modern 'Eavy Metal way- but it will really help you feeling like your getting somewhere.  There is a big difference between a figure thats unshaded, vs one thats got great trousers but is otherwise jet black.  Both take the same amount of time, and a slip up will not mean distaster- you can easly fix a base coat- but not a richly shaded section.

Start with the skellies bone first, then do the mummies, then metals, then browns, then flesh.  Once thats all base coated, your most of the way to having your undead army sorted.  Put away the mummies.  Focus on the Skellies shading.  I used Devlan Mud and Gryphone Sepia mixed with a little water.  A couple of washes and then a few gentle drybrushes and I was pretty much done.  The nice thing with having all the base coats done first is that the brown wash can pretty much go across everything on the skelleton.  This cuts out steps, and as you know, we are all for that- right?

Once you wrap up your skellies, the mummies bandages can be done with the leftover mix.  I went blue/green with my skin so they would stand out from the skeletons and orcs.

Since your models are always kicking around a dungeon, it does not make much sense to put a flocked base on them, or even grit.  I have seen a few like this and it just doesnt work with the game board.  Now I went a bit swish and remounted mine onto round bases, then sculpted on some pavers in procreate.
The fastest way to tackle this problem is to buy some resin dungeon bases.  All you need to do then is slice your model off its base using a gentle rocking action on the blade (wear goggles)- and drill and pin the figures on.  This technique will allow you to paint all the bases for all the figures in one go.  Stick them all on a pole using bluetack.  Prime.  Black spray.  Grey drybrush.  Light grey drybrush. Spray varnish (gloss), spray varnish (testors dullcoat)  Done.  Drill your holes as and when you finish the models.  Having a prepainted base waiting for it is a joy.

Once you have finished a set, put them up on display.  This will help lift your morale enough to complete the box.  Leave your heroes till last as a treat.

So these tips should help.  Post up links if you take the challenge!