Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lower Fickleham In the Sun

Finally managed to squeeze in taking some pictures of the boards with the village and other terrain laid out on them. It ended up a lot sparser than I thought. I'm going to need more hedges and trees (can never have too many hedges or trees in the collection really) and also some more fields to fill it out.  

I just made a couple of additions to the boards since I last "finished" them. I wasn't real happy with the way the roads blended into the rest of the boards so I added some sand and paste as dirt in the gutters and along the edges. I also used some used and dried green tea leaves as leaves in spots of the gutters and added some patchy static grass on the edges.The cliff board also got some sandy texture and static grass around the rock faces.

Closer look at the improved roads.
I considered adding more grass but I think I want to keep the boards relatively simple and then make several flexible caulk pieces to go over them. These will be fields, rocky terrain, woods and such. I'm hoping it will give me more options overall. I'm still not real happy with the poor fit of the boards together and the unsightly join line. Hopefully the use of overlay pieces will disguise these as well. If I ever make more board sections I'll have to be more careful to get more exact edges but for now I at least have something to play a game on. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jimmy Fishhead

I still haven't managed to get the perfect storm of time, lighting, and weather to take better pictures of my boards but in the mean time I've finished up my sculpt of Jimmy Fishhead. I took some pictures of him in my wife's new Foldio lightbox. 

It's very nice to use but I still need to play around to get a better light balance as the grey putty against the white background can make things difficult. 

I've also done some other sculpting of the avian variety. My snowy owl has been completed and I'm trying my hand at more stylistic ( and I'm told by my wife cuter) little birds. We have three shows coming up in the next few months so I need to crank out some birds to stock the tables. 

Snowy owl 

Black Capped Chickadee even rounder than in real life

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On the Workbench

In an attempt to get into the swing of posting more regularly I've decided to try showing what I'm currently working on. Aside from the terrain boards I've also been trying to get back into the rhythm of sculpting again. 

I am definitely a hobby butterfly and have a tendency to move from one project to another. Although I guess I'm rather like a Monarch in the fact that I tend to come back to the same projects again and again. The problem with sculpting is that  I'm far slower at sculpting than I am at finding new things I want to work on. This has led to starting many sculpts and then abandoning them as I lose interest and move onto something else. As a consequence I have a whole box of partially finished sculpts ranging from nearly done to barely started most of which I have no idea what I originally intended them you be. So I thought it might be a good exercise to try to make something of them. No real plans on what they will end up being just whatever strikes my fancy.

The box of orphaned sculpts
First out of the box was a rather pudgy fellow that was little more than a bulked out  armature. I was thinking maybe an alien merchant with robes like something out of Star Wars but then my wife said " Give him a fishhead!" and later "How about a gangster suit." And so Jimmy Fishhead, mob enforcer was born. 

Here he is to start. To give you an idea how long he was sitting around I switched from using greenstuff to Procreate to sculpt with about 6 years ago. The head went on first with a pair of generic dress shoes. 

Here is where he is right now mostly suited up. I wanted to do a classic double breasted suit but misplaced my first button. Oh well Jimmy likes the freedom of movement with a single breasted jacket. 

I'm also working on a tommy gun for him. I find doing hard surfaces like this difficult so I'm taking my time with it. Hopefully Jimmy will be done and off the work bench by next week. Then it will be onto the next draw from the box of orphaned sculpts. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Terrain Boards Finished

Finally the saga of the terrain boards comes to completion. I've been taking the opportunity to work bit by bit on them over the past couple of months. I started these quite sometime ago and then tried to get them complete in a four day rush last November. If you want to take a moment to look back you can follow this link to see the previous posts. Modular Boards

After the last coat of thinned down wood filler as a seal coat I also added some patches of other texture. This was done with a combination of scrubbing on some straight wood filler and using pumice gel I had lying around. ( I bought the pumice originally for basing miniatures but it didn't quite work the way I would have liked so it's getting used up here.)

Rock face after painting

I tried to put in a rough path winding up the hill as well.
Next up was painting. I actually pulled out some of my previous completed terrain pieces that would go with them to make sure things would match up.This is probably more important with the flocking later on though. The wood sides just got a straight coat of black gesso. As much as I would of liked to stain them I had to grind through several layers of the plywood to make the sides straighter and I expect the finish would have been awful.

Roads were kept dirtied up but with some cobbles showing for contrast. 
Last part was putting on the flocking. I used a first pass of mixed colors of flocking. I learned as I went along so the flocking on the first board with the crossroads is a bit rougher than the last. I decided to keep the flocking sparse in areas so that the painted parts show through underneath. If it turns out I don't like the effect once I start using them I figure I can always put another coat on.

All of the pictures were taken quickly with my cell phone. Unfortunately the boards don't fit in my lightbox so the pictures aren't the best. I'm hoping that I can take some better pictures soon with better natural light and with some of my terrain and figures on them.

Passing inspection

All four together. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Possessed Civillian

This is one of the figures I didn't quite get done in time for the painting challenge now two months gone. I wanted to make a figure to show someone who got a bit too close to extra-dimensional powers and hasn't come out the better for it. He was sculpted up from a basic armature and then I just added a whole bunch of tentacles to him.
In progress shot, tentacles are just starting to grow. 
The nice thing about making your own figures is that you don't have to worry about casting limitations. In this case I was just able to add tentacles going all over with a lot of void space to give the impression of the figure being completely supported by the tentacular mass that he has for a head now.  
Side view

Sculpting is all done and he's prepped for painting.

Out and about menacing the neighbors. 
He painted up really fast as I went with a simple scheme. I tried to make the tentacles a similar color to the Shoggoths that I painted some time ago. Perhaps he's half transformed into one? The frock coat and pants are just a basic brown to contrast with the purply grey. For the skin tone for the hands I went with a pale sickly fleshtone.

  My plan is to fit him in with the Cabal, my evil faction. Maybe an experiment gone wrong or right?
 I might try to make a couple of my troopers as minders for him. I'd like to give them some sort of cattle prods or the like to direct him in the right direction.

"Who me,  Officer?" 
So it's been two months since my last post. The usual assortment of excuses I'm afraid mostly centered around several life changes. Hopefully I'll be able to get back in to regular posting schedule again as things have settled down somewhat. Finishing up my modular gaming boards are the next big project and I still have a couple of other figures that are leftover from the Painting Challenge as well.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Something Different: Owls

Somehow two of my hobbies have managed to run together. Both my wife and I are birders and also volunteer with a bird rehab organization. Part of the reason for this stems from our love of birds and owls in particular. Last year my wife started a new hobby of needle felting small birds and again in particular owls. She has also started a sideline of selling them on Etsy. ( You can check it out here at Birds By Botzan.) I have helped her out with parts of her projects before, mostly making armatures and constructing feet and beaks for some birds.

Saw Whet owl found in Canada
Then she asked me to try my hand at sculpting some owls for her after seeing something similar online. I decided to try to use Super Sculpey for this project. I've made some terrain and architectural details with Super Sculpey before but never any real detailed sculpting. I also used premade glass eyes for the sculpts. These are worth their weight in gold for really making the figures come to life.

The first one I did was a Saw-Whet Owl based vaguely off a picture I took of one last fall in Canada.
He was basically a learning experience with how to work with the Super Sculpey. After he was baked and hardened I also painted him up.

The second is a snowy owl. A while ago we had purchased a pair of books about making wood carvings of owls. These were an invaluable reference as they have tons of excellent drawings and scale references. He still needs to painted but I think he is a big improvement over the first little guy.

28mm figure I dug out of my collection for scale. Not meant to be giant ferocious owls but they could work in a pinch. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hardboiled Detective and the Long Goodbye to the Painting Challenge

Well the Painting Challenge came to an end on back on Friday and I submitted my last entry just a bit earlier than that. I still needed to paint up an anti-hero to send to Curt as my entry fee. I knew going in that I wanted to do a Film Noir detective and to try to do him in greyscale. I found the perfect miniature in the Reaper chronoscope line and got him ordered in.

I've never painted a miniature in greyscale before but I thought back to my boyhood art classes that mostly consisted of two tasks; mixing colors to match paint chips and painting still-lives in monochrome. So I broke out all of my greys and off greys and set to work. I tried to keep each piece of clothing in a separate tone to break it apart and give it that look of colors translated to black and white.

I gave the end of the lit cigarette the only touch of color. From looking at other peoples work it seems like that touch of color is what really sells the grey scale. Plus I think it looks cool.
I'll be trying to ship him out this week. Hopefully the cross border postal system will be kind to him.

I've really enjoyed my time in the Painting Challenge. Its been the most fun I've had painting in years and a special thanks to Curt and all of the other participants for making it so. I got figures done for several projects that have been sitting idle. As fun as that was I think the highlight for me was the Bonus rounds. I got to work on a few figures that I probably never would have otherwise. I'm particularly happy with the pennyfarthing cyclist that I sculpted. He along with the Uhtred conversion I did each got me a second place finish in the voting. I do regret missing out on two of the rounds however, and hopefully better planning next year will see me in all 6 rounds.

As far as overall production I think the past months of the Challenge have seen me paint more figures than I did in the previous year and possibly two years.

35 15/18mm infantry
1 15mm vehicle
1 28mm/ 15mm giant monster
Martian Tripod and drone
19 28mm figures (3 with their diorama base)
1 54mm scratchbuilt Cyclist

After this I'm going to be taking a bit of break from painting. I actually have a few started miniatures that didn't quite get done for the Challenge so they'll probably be trickling in. But for the most part I'm going to concentrate on sculpting and getting some terrain done. At least that's the plan for now.
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