Sunday, June 30, 2013

Inspiration (Part 3)

Another reason I was lured into trying to attempt the three color style is the work of one Charles Baynon. I have only seen his work on eBay, but it is simply stunning. Here are a few examples. I got the images from his previous auctions. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing them.

If that doesn't make you want to toss out your AP Quickshade, I don't know what will!  =]

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tone it down

Well, I took James' advice and applied a base color wash over the too-light highlights. It toned it down a bit and I think it looks better. Original figure on the left, toned-down on the right:

The differences are kind of subtle in the pics. It's more pronounced in person. Next up, the cape!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lead Poisoning?

I think I have 'lead poisoning.' I told myself I would not buy any more figures until I got this Scots warband painted up. But I really had to have a priest for my Scots warlord stand though. I really liked the one I saw in the Foundry King Arthur Command pack (especially the way they have him painted up in tartan). I blame that books series I am reading now.

And I figured I could use the rest of these fine lads for a Dux Britinarrium army. So it begins. Not only too many figures, but too many rule sets as well!

Second crack at the "three color method"

I had a go at the tunic on my Scots levy last night.  Overall I think it went pretty well. The experience was entirely less stressful than the face and hands. Not sure if that was because those bits are so much smaller or because it was my first time. Or both. I didn't feel like I needed a smaller brush either. I used a 0, a 00, and a 3/0 (all from Rosemary & Co.'s 323 spotter series).

I feel like I went a little overboard with the highlight color and that it's a tad too light as well. It looks like his tunic has been through the washer/dryer cycle a few thousand times! Initially I added one drop of matte white to my base color and thought it didn't look different enough. Two drops is evidently too much though. Maybe next time I'll go with a 3:2 ratio. In hindsight the shade tone may be too dark as well. I guess there is something to be said for subtlety and what looks wrong on the palette might look right on the figure (and vice versa).

While doing the highlights I guess I got so engrossed with where to put paint, I neglected to check the state of my brush. I ended up practically dry brushing some parts as I had gone too long with out a dip in fresh paint. I figure that will resolve itself with practice as I won't have to think so much about what to paint where. I did get out the wet palette last night and I think that helped as when I go so slowly the paint on the palette tends to goop up as well.

Still a long way to go on the confidence of my brush strokes, but that will come. All-in-all I'm very pleased with the results so far.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Blogger's Conference

James over at EXILES WARGAMES PAINTER is doing us all a great service by organizing a blogger's conference in November at Foundry HQ in the UK. Would that I was not so far away. Details below by clicking the image below:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My new teeny-tiny brush

Well, I've read that sizes vary from one brush maker to the next. I guess I've got a good example on my hands here.

I've written previously that I felt like I needed something smaller than my Rosemary & Co. 3/0 spotter. Since that's the smallest she makes in that line I went with a Da Vinci 5/0 extra short spotter that I found on Amazon. It's a pretty dramatic difference visually:

The picture was taken under the 6x magnifier lens on my old man lamp. Part of the difference may be due to the Da Vinci being an 'extra short' brush and thus missing much of the 'belly' that the Rosemary & Co has in spades. I'll try them out tonight and see what I think, but I suspect I may still something in between.

EDIT: In order to present a more 'apples to apples' comparison, I cleaned and pointed both brushes. Here's the after shot:

Monday, June 24, 2013

First crack at the "three color method"

I've been trying to follow Kevin Dallimore's examples of the three color method. See my earlier posts for details on the book I got for Father's Day. Not my best work for sure, but as it's my first go I'll cut myself some slack.

Apologies for not taking shots with just the base shade. I got a little caught up I guess.

Some key takeaways for next time:
  • Try using a successively smaller brush for each lighter color:  I've ordered a new 5/0 brush to help with this. It should be here tomorrow.
  • Lighten up my shade color. Feels too dark and not 'fleshy' enough I will mix some of my base color into my shade color. I've become inspired to mix more color after seeing this awesome tutorial.
  • Leave less of the shade color showing (on the legs especially):  I think this will resolve itself with more practice.
  • Thin the paint:  I did not thin the paints very much and I took a VERY long time to finish painting (I had to frequently consult my book). I also wanted to avoid having to do multiple coats as my brush work is a little sketchy and I figured less coats would mean less stress! I guess it's time to break out the wet palette again.
  • Be liberal with the shade color:  I had a hard time seeing some of the details with the black primer. I accidentally left some of his forehead black actually. If I go fast and loose with shade color I think I will find the edges of the skin better. I can always touch up with more primer later.
Next up the tunic. Stay tuned...


Wow! I've hit 1000 page views. I know that's not much by most standards, but a milestone none the less. I'm not sure how many of these views are actual people (I'm looking at you '') but if you are a real person, I'd like to thank those who have offered encouraging words and hope that some may be helped (or at least amused) by reading about my adventures in miniature painting. Cheers!

Inspiration (part 2)

Continuing the theme of books that inspire, here is a work of non-fiction that's been a great reference as I (ever so slowly) paint my Scots forces:

What I found particularly useful for my Dark Ages forces was the information about which warlords and their clans clashed with which, as well as what mercenary forces aided them. It made my want to paint up some 'Swords for Hire' to partner with my Scots. Perhaps some Norse-Gaels from Orkney or the Isle of Man.

If you are interested in the Irish, Scots, or Britons I recommend the book. It's got excellent Angus McBride color plates as well. Being from 1988, I have to imagine the information is a little dated though. I've got some recent books on my wish list, but this one was a steal I purchased 'used' from Amazon.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New book!

Well, my Father's Day present finally arrived and I'm loving it:

I've already jumped in and started following his first tutorial with my new test levy. Here he is with just the flesh shade tone (AP Leather Brown) done:

I have to say even with those big ham fists of his, leaving black lines between the fingers was a challenge for me. I used my 3/0 Kolinski Spotter and had to go back in a touch up a bit with the black primer again. I suspect there will be a lot of that in my near future. After the enamel primer dries I'll go back in for the flesh mid tone (AP Barbarian Flesh). So far, so good!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


In one of the many blogs I follow, the author posted about books that inspired him to paint. I thought I would follow suit. While it was Cornwell's Saxon Stories that got me started reading Dark Age stuff, this book has really inspired me with the band of Scots I'm painting:

Not only does Paula de Fougerolles have great credentials (Cambridge PhD in Mediaeval History from the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic), she is an amazing writer as well. While I kind of slogged through Cornwell, I find myself getting sucked through these books. Sometimes I read this book so quickly that I have to look back and make sure I didn't miss anything!  I was a little put off at first as there is a "bodice ripper" element to these books, but fear not. She spends more time with missions, miracles, and monsters than with romance. I whole-heartedly recommend them to any Dark Age reader.

I'm scheming lately about making the protagonist Aedan the warlord of my band and perhaps adding a Scottish deerhound to his base. I was also looking at 28mm priest figures to use for Columba. It might be cool to make a larger, multi-figure base with both of them. I realize this book might be stretching the SAGA time period slightly. I've read that the games author was targeting around the year 1000 AD and this book is set in 563 AD. But I figure if I paint the band with more Pictish symbols than Christian ones, I'll probably be alright.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Paint it black!

OK, OK! I know I said I was all set to dive in and complete the rest of my Scots army. But then I saw this amazing image of some expertly painted Vikings on another blog and I began to wonder if the Army Painter dip method was ever going to be good enough for me.

The gentlemen that painted them was kind enough to answer my questions via email and although the technique he used is very involved and most certainly beyond my skill, I have decided that some more experimentation is necessary.

I'm going to try my hand at the three tone technique. I've asked for the figure painting bible for Father's Day. I realize this will take some practice and to that end I've primed up another levy that I'm prepared to strip ad infinitum. I didn't have any black spray primer so I've brushed him up with some Humbrol Matt Black enamel that I'd bought for base-coating the chainmail of my white-primered armored blokes.

Hubris? Perhaps. Will he ever get his army painted? Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Finished! Sorta...

I believe I've finally finished the three test levy!!!

It's amazing what something as simple as painting the edges of the base does to make the whole figure feel finished.

 I'm not too fussed about the AP Battlefield Rocks. They make better sticks than rocks. I'll stick to the Woodland Scenics talus from now on. The one broken-off piece of talus I used on the levy in the green tunic's base (above) just painted up so much better. I may also try play sand instead of the AP flock too.

I went a little too sparse with the watered down PVA while applying my AP Battleground ash grey flock and kitty litter mix. It seems my old eyes were having trouble distinguishing the glue from the semi-transparent Lumina clay. This left some shiny, bald spots. Which wasn't too big of a deal as that just helped determine where to glue down the AP static Field Grass. A few of their Winter Tufts finished things off nicely. I still need to play around with how much of the base gets grass and how to make the shape of it look more natural.

Overall, I'm very please with the way everything came out. I'm still not entirely happy with the highlighting. Probably because I did next to none! I'll play around with that more with next batch of levy. Feels great to have these three in the can though!  =]

Now on to the other thirty-four little men...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

First Base

No, I'm not holding hands with Christine Anderson during recess. I've gooped, sandified, and painted my first bases.

Even thought I bought some Vallejo White Pumice, it seemed so messy that I decided to use Gareson's method which he kindly demonstrates on his blog. This calls for using Lumina Air Dry Polymer Clay which is much tidier than the pumice. I'll use the pumice for some wattle buildings or something.

He also suggests using sand and kitty litter as basing materials. I had already purchased (a recurring theme!) some Army Painter basing stuffs (battleground basing and battefield rocks) so I figured I should try to use those. I ended up mixing some clumping cat litter I had hanging around in with the battleground basing. I considering using play sand, but mine seemed too fine (and also too moist).  I ended up cutting the battlefield 'rocks' up a bit. They look a bit big and too wood-like for my taste. I also experimented using for Woodland Scenics talus to make a larger rock.

After gluing on the basing, cat litter, and 'rock' mixture, I applied a mixture of equal parts water, PVA, and cheap craft store burnt umber paint. Then I dry brushed with a tan and beige that I mixed up from burnt umber and some light ivory craft acrylics. I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. It was a bit laborious, so I may try to find ways to optimize (mix burnt umber paint into the Lumina clay?).

Next stop, static grass and tufts...


Finally got the weapons added to my test levy:

I painted the spears and then used the Army Painter Dark Tone Ink Wash to shade them. I could have brushed on the Quickshade varnish, but I only have the Testor's Dullcote spray and didn't want to have to spray down the whole miniature again just for the spears. I guess I should get some brush-on matte finish, but this seemed to work fine.

Since I had already painted the hands I used an X-acto to scrape off the paint inside the hand and a bit of the spear to get a good metal-to-metal bond. I followed advice I'd read somewhere that suggested a drop of green stuff (I used the GW liquid greenstuff) along with a drop of super glue to set the spears. Seems to have worked a charm. I haven't really man-handled them yet, but they seem plenty sturdy.

As I had to go back and touch up the hands with my trusty Barbarian Flesh, I figured why not try a little dry brush highlight on the faces? So I did a bit very gingerly on the face of one of the levy. It looks pretty good. I have to say, it really livens the little guy up after that bath in grey grunge. I'm still not entirely confident in my ability not to screw the figures up at this stage so I don't want to go too crazy with highlights, but I can certainly see the benefits of it.