Welcome to the Badzones. Here you will find my ongoing projects modeling, painting and playing skirmish level table top games. Here I will focus on Necromunda, Malifaux and Puppet Wars, as well as my thoughts on the hobby at large. Thank you for stopping by and feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Vol. 15: Dragon Hatchlings

This will be a quick update because this was a pretty quick little project. I was able to complete all of the Dragon Hatchlings in an afternoon over the weekend.

For the hatchlings, I had a hard time deciding what colors I wanted to go with, so in true dungeon crawl video game style, I painted each one a different color entirely. To make the process a bit faster, and get more time logged practicing the airbrush, I did the basecoats and primary highlights all with the Sotor 2020. As I start to get the feel for the brush, I am starting to realize the potential that exists for some really nice looking work with it.

After airbrushing, I went back in and did a few washes and highlights conventionally. I then went back and did everyone's eyes a different color as well. My micron pen was again put to good use decorating the hatchlings with little freckles and and such, for added cuteness as they are mercilessly cloven in half by bloodthirsty, if equally cute, heroes.

More to Come.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Toy: Foldio Kickstarter by Orangemonkie

The Foldio...all folded up
As those of you who read my blog know by now, I am always looking for ways to improve this blog, either with more posts, more content or better pictures. A few months ago, I invested in a tool that, I hoped, would allow me to increase the quality of pictures I add to the blog. That tool is the Foldio, the product of a kickstarter project by Orangemonkie, and it arrived last night.

The second LED strip...
offered as part of the Kickstart
I will not go into a full unboxing of the Foldio, instead, you can watch their kickstarter video. In essence, the Foldio is a foldable plastic sheet that, with the help of several magnets, can be folded into a portable lightbox. The Foldio also includes two LED light strips that take 9 volt batteries, which themselves attach to the box with magnets. It is very slick.

The Foldio in all its glory
I still have yet to really explore taking photos with the Foldio, but so far, the results have been impressive. The Foldio is large enough to hold several models or even vehicles, the LEDs provide a perfect amount of light and the enclosed backdrops fit in nicely. I am excited to get more photos taken.

Let's take a look at a couple of photos, before and after the Foldio.

Image #1: Before
Image #1 is a standard image I took using an 8 megapixel digital camera. I used my desk lamp as lighting and a simple white plastic sheet as a backdrop.

Image #2: Before
Image #2 is taken with an iphone camera and the same light as image 1.The backdrop is my desk and (sexy) finger.

Image #3: Before
Image #3 was taken using a dark felt backdrop and the same lightsource. 

Image #4: Before
Image #4 was set up the same as the first image, but with the additional of another OttLite for added light.

Each of these set ups involved placing the light in the right place and taking 9 or 10 pictures, loading them onto Picasa and editing them to bring down the brightness, etc. Now, let's take a look at the pics I took with the Foldio.

For these pictures, I set up the Foldio, turned on only one set of LEDs and snapped one each using the iPhone. The whole thing took no more than 2 minutes.

Image #5: After
Image #5: Was taken with the white backdrop that came with the Foldio.

Image #6: After
Image #6: Was taken using felt in addition to Foldio backdrop.

Clearly there is some improvement to be had. However, The last two pictures represent about 2 minutes of set up, whereas those prior represented a far more complex and time consuming set up, including multiple lights and many, many duplicate photos.

Moving forward, I am going to get some practice in with the Foldio and different cameras by retaking several of the pictures that have already appeared on this blog and replacing them a little bit at a time. In the meantime, however.....

More to Come.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gettin' Wet....Palettes

Over the last couple of years, I've focused most of my hobby time on actively increasing my ability as a painter. Sometimes, this has involved a new technique or a different kind of paint and, sometimes, it involved introducing a new tool into the mix. Amidst the airbrushes and fancy paint brushes, the one tool that has made the most difference to me is a wet palette.

For many years, I worked with a more typically 'palette,' something like a piece of plastic sheet, or a ceramic tile. For a while, I was set on using a simple piece of wax paper. This was primarily because those items were available and wet palettes were just another thing to spend money on. 

Rather than go the route of commercially made palettes, I fashioned my own wet palette out of items I already had available. I am not, by any means, the first person to come up with this idea and I'm sure many blogs have already written a similar post, but I wanted to get mine out there as well, if to convince more people to switch to a far superior wet palette.

Here is what you need:
  • 1 Plano Tray (all you really need is the lid. Get a size you can use to store your painting tools)
  • 2 Paper Towels (warning: hyperlink is of questionable usefulness)
  • A roll of Wax Paper (warning: hyperlink has been deemed completely unnecessary)

Step 1: Remove the lid from the Plano Tray and remove the latches from the lid.

Step 2: Line the bottom of the upturned lid with the paper towels, layering until you have between 4 and 6 layers. Add some water to help the paper towels stick in place.

Step 3: Once you have your paper towels folded to the size of the upturned tray, hold the tray under the tap until the paper towel is completely soaked. 

Step 4: Remove the paper towel and squeeze the majority of the water out of it. Ideally, the paper towel should be soaked, but not dripping.

Step 5: Put the paper towels back into the upturned tray lid, and mold the paper towel into the correct shape.

Step 6: Cut a piece of wax paper to fit the upturned tray and apply it to the top of the paper towel. You will know the paper towel is wet enough when the wax paper starts to stick. The paper towel if the water begins soaking through the wax paper.

And that's it. Seriously though...everyone should be painting using a wet palette and if you're not already doing so, give it a try. You will quickly be convinced there is no other way to go.

More to Come.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Vol. 14: Deeproot Druid and Angry Bear

The SDE project continues. Here's a depressing trivia fact for you. It's been nearly 1 year since I began painting the Super Dungeon Explore minis. Granted, in this last year I have painted fewer models than in any other year of the last five or six but still, I hate how these projects just get drawn out for so long. The good news is that if I actually looked at the number of hours it's taken me to paint all the SDE models to this point, I would probably not be as hum drum about my progress. A lot happened in 2013 that took me away from the painting table.

This year, I have come out of the gate very strong and I will have the SDE project wrapped up shortly. There are so few models left to go now that I believe I have crossed over the hump...the momentum of completing the project will carry me over the finish line now.....and just in time too, as I have been increasingly eager to get back into playing Malifaux and just as hesitant as ever to play with models that aren't painted.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Today, the Deeproot Druid and Angry Bear join their fellow heroes on the table. I mentioned in my February post that I was painting the druid and bear together to make sure they matched. Even though they are never going to be on the table at the same time, they will almost always be photographed next to each other, so this ended up being the way to go.

In that post, I also mentioned that I was using a lot of Bleached Bone, and you can tell, there is quite a bit on these guys. While this ended up being the major color for the fur on these guys, I also broke up the monotone using Vallejo Model Air colors Hemp, Light Brown and Sand Yellow. I've recently found a local store that stocks the Air colors and I think I will eventually transition over to them as my primary paint source.

I remember back in another post that I was talking about how I was nearly done with gold on the SDE heroes, with the Paladin and Fighter complete. As you can see, this was clearly not the case, but I think I have a good thing going with my gold recipe. For these models, I base-coated with Vallejo Model Air Golden Brown, which I followed with Model Air Gold. After this, I shaded with a couple layers of Sepia, and then picked out the highlights with gold again. Finally, I went back over the lightest highlights using gold mixed with just a bit of Model Air Steel.

When it came to the Angry Bear, I wanted to spend time making sure he looked alive. A lot of the examples I have seen online of the bear make it looks very statuesque and not alive. I used the same techniques for his tongue as I did for the treasure chest. I also took care to pick out the rest of his mouth in a separate color from the tongue to make sure it pops.

With a lot of extra space on his base, I took the liberty of using some of the extra bits that came in my copy of the box. A shield and broken spear from a couple of kobolds really added a nice touch.

At the risk of sounding too self absorbed, I am really pleased with the way these models turned out. I'm very tempted to bring all of the heroes out for a group shot, but I am going to wait until the last three are done. In the meantime, my wife has decided she will only play as the Druid now, as he has the perfect combination between angry and cute.

More to Come.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Vol. 13: Dragon Whelps

To follow up on my last post, the Dragon Whelps are ready for the table. As the first models painted using an airbrush, I am very happy with how these little guys turned out. I will admit that I picked up the brush to add some final highlights and some shading. For the claws and nails, I went with a deep brown, highlighted with a bit of red. 

The eyes on these little guys were done very simply, highlighting from oranges up into bright yellow, with a micron pen filling in the iris. I also used a Sepia micron to add the freckles on their cheeks for a bit of added cuteness.

I am going to continue my practice on the airbrush with the rest of the dragon family, before eventually working up to Starfire herself. 

More to Come.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Learning to Airbrush

About this time last year, I was finally getting my airbrush up and running. All of the supplies had been gathered and I was beginning to experiment with using the Sotor I picked up to undercoat and varnish models. Up until now, that was the only thing I had used it for. Over the weekend, however, I decided to start learning how to paint, actually paint using the airbrush.

I've mentioned in past posts that the first models I was going to experiment with were the Super Dungeon Explore Dragon Kin. As these models are not very complex in terms of detail, I thought it would be a forgiving place to start. Specifically, I started with the Whelps. These chubby little guys are pretty straight forward, and I thought the large amounts of skin on them would respond well to even some novice airbrush blending. 

Here is my result so far. Overall, I think this is a good first attempt, though there is clearly a long way for me to go. I've only just begun to explore the extremely fine end of the Sotor 2020 and I'm still dialing in things like the consistency of my paint and the PSI of the compressor. More difficult for me will probably be getting used to holding the Sotor in my hand and getting a feel for exactly how to move the trigger and where to point the nozzle.
That said, I managed to get a basecoat and highlights on both of the Whelps. As of the writing, they have been glass varnished in preparation of a little shading work, but they will not be as shiny in the end. 

As for coloring, I decided the Whelps would be a darker red than I've seen a lot of others use. I wanted to be sure they stood apart as an entirely different creature from the Kobolds and look more like the plans I have in store for Startfire...Deep reds to contrast with their fiery environment. 

Well, back to work.

More to Come.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Something Different

Last week, I learned that one of my local stores, Books, Comics and Things, is holding a painting competition. In a move completely uncharacteristic of myself, I decided to throw my hat into the ring. One of the stipulations of the contest was that any model entered was to be purchased from the store and entered into the contest at the time of purchase. And so I took a look at the stock they had, quickly ruled out anything GW, and eventually landed on an Infinity model, a Haqqislamite Khawarij.
I've never participated much in Infinity, even though, according to my love of complex rules and Necromunda, it seems Infinity should have been my next logical step, rather than Malifaux. I would probably have picked up a Malifaux model instead, but I thought it might be nice to paint up something quite a bit different from anything I've been painting lately. I also didn't have time to order in a Malifaux model I wanted. 

With the deadline for the contest just a day or two away, I was able to complete the Khawarij and get him entered in the contest today. While I do not think he is the best model I have painted, I think he does show considerable improvement over comparable Necromunda models. I'll take this as a sign that I am continuing to move in the right direction, in terms of painting skill.

More to Come,