Monday, January 7, 2013

A Madman, A Big Bastard and More Thoughts on the Future of the Blog


As part of my end of year retrospective, I recently went looking over my posts from last year to get a better idea of where this blog has been and where I would like it to go moving forward. One of the trends I noticed, particularly in the last year, is that I am often throwing posts up in the name of making a new post, moving as quickly as I can from one painted model to the next. While this has helped me post on a somewhat consistent basis, it doesn’t really achieve anything for the blog as a whole.

Moving forward, I’d like to take a bit more time to focus on the projects I am working on and the models I am painting. Rather than simply throwing and saying “Hey! Look at this!” I’d like to get into more of a discussion about my projects. Ideally, as I begin to play more regularly, I will afford more time in the blog to other aspects of the hobby.

With that in mind, I thought I would take a closer look at what ended up being my first completed Malifaux master, Seamus. I spent a considerable amount of time this autumn working on both Seamus and his Avatar. Over the course of painting these two models, I tried out several new techniques and really tried to up my game.

Seamus
When I first posted pics of Seamus earlier in the year, I mentioned that I had begun painting in a completely different way. Namely, I started painting one color at a time. I don’t know how common or uncommon this is, but it has never occurred to me. In the past, I’ve always painted by step. That is, I paint the basecoat on an entire model, shade it, and highlight. The problem I have with this process is that I work through a basecoat and shade a model, only to run into some kind of block. I have a lot of models unfinished at the shading stage.

Painting a single color at a time completely avoids this problem. With Seamus, for example, I began by painting all of the fleshtones all the way up to the final highlight. I found this leaves me always looking forward to starting the next part of the model and keeps me working.

Seamus was also my latest attempt to work with wet blending. Up until now, I have depended on washes for shading. With Seamus, I wanted to start with a basecoat, do one or two rounds of highlights and finish with shading. I think Seamus turned out quite well. The wet blending worked particularly well on Seamus’ base, notably on the lit gas lamp. The rest of the lamp was given a dirty bronze look, basecoated in Vallejo Scorched brown and highlighted with Tin Bitz followed bit a ½ mix of Tin Bitz and bronze. I finished the lamp off with a light black wash with just a hint of sepia wash.

All in all, Seamus ends up being easily one of my favorite and best paint jobs to date.





Avatar Seamus
As I worked on cleaning up the massive chunk of resin that was Avatar Seamus, I realized it had been probably close to 10 years since I’ve painted a model as large. Back in the days of 2nd Ed 40k, I had painted up my fair share of Predators and Space Marine Dreadnoughts, but Necromunda is a game where you very seldom have to paint a large model. This was somewhat intimidating, which is why I looked to Les over at Awesome Paintjob for some tips on painting the big bastard.

I’ve talked about the flesh tones on A.Seamus in an earlier post, but I pretty much copied the technique on Awesome Paintjob. The flesh was basecoated with a 50/50 mix of Dwarf Flesh and Camo Green. I followed this with a highlight of pure Dwarf Flesh. Then I added a highlight of 50/50 Dwarf Flesh and Dead Flesh. A final highlight of Dead Flesh picked up the brightest higlights. After that, I shaded with several techniques, including a few wash layers of Umber Wash mixed with Red and Violet washes. The deepest recesses on the skin were shaded again with a round of violet weathering powder.

I wanted to make A.Seamus as similar in color scheme to his counterpart as I could. That said, I had to change a few things. With such large amounts of flesh and a brown shirt, the darker green of the original Seamus’s hat and coat were too dark for the Avatar, so I decided to step the green up just a bit to add some contrast to the model.






The Base
One of my favorite parts of A.Seamus ended up being his base. I wanted to make the model a real centerpiece for the crew. I started with a simple layer of cork. A second Malifaux gas lamp, torn up and bent a bit, served to bring some continuity between Seamus and his avatar. I recycled one of my blister packs to create the shards of broken glass scattered over the broken lamp.


The finished result really helps A.Seamus stand out. At the time I took these pictures, I still have some work to do varnishing the model and finishing the broken glass effect. Use caution when clipping the blister this way though, as it made some very sharp edges.

Here are a few more pictures of the completed base.

 


When I was looking over the pictures I had taken for this post, the other problem I have seen with this blog is in the quality of pictures. One goal I have for the next year is to work on some higher quality photos. It is very easy to simply snap a shot with the iphone and get it posted, but the quality is sometimes lacking and, especially with complete models, I want to get some high quality photos in the books.

Now that the holidays are behind us and everything is starting to get back to normal, I hope to get back to the painting table very shortly. There's a lot to do and, as usual, the projects are only growing.

More to come.

-Nick


Friday, January 4, 2013

The Obligatory New Year's Post

I should start by saying that I am not going to miss 2012. The year was pretty good for me professionally, but only in the way that means I spend a lot more time working and less with my family. Personally, this year has been an unending string of hardship for my entire family. This year we've dealt with natural disasters, serious illnesses of all kinds, death, suicide and unemployment. The consensus this year has been that we all just need a break and feel like, with 2013 beginning, we all deserve one.

In terms of hobby, this year has been a very mixed bag as well. While I have been able to keep this blog going, I have not been able to grow the following of this blog and have not grown my presence online as I would have liked. I was not able to spend time at any events this year and have done very little gaming and not much painting. Beyond that is my disappointment in Puppet Wars, which has been doomed to some kind of  purgatory in favor of some card game with baby Hitler.

The good news this year is that I believe I have really become a better painter. I have been working very hard on wet blending techniques and using fewer inks. When working on a base the other day I though to myself "I can't remember the last time I drybrushed".

So what's ahead in the new year?

I do have some definite gaming resolutions:

  • Finish painting my current Puppet Wars Collection
  • Finish painting a tournament-worthy Malifaux crew(s)
  • Play an actual game, of anything, at least twice a month
  • Attend at least one large event (my wife and I are looking forward to a long Adepticon weekend without the kid. Of course....Gencon is only a couple hours down the road).
  • Build a Malifaux table and terrain
I think these are realistic goals. What do you think?

More to come.

-Nick