Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Vol. 16: Riftling Rogue

Recently, the Riftling Rogue joined the cast of characters and brought the SDE project one step closer to completion. In the last couple of weeks, I've even managed to play a game of SDE and it has been an immense pleasure to have all the models in play painted and looking great. As I finish the project, I will devote some time to capturing some really good pictures of the models, both on the table and using the Foldio. To wrap up the project, I will also have one showcase post, where all of the models can be seen together and in glorious color.

Meanwhile, the Riftling Rogue was a quick paint and turned out quite well. I've seen several versions of the painted rogue, and each of them took a different road as to the fleshtones used on the model. For me, I wanted to go with something that was distinctly non-human, but also not entirely out of the ballpark. In the end, I used a combination of Vallejo Model Colors Flat Flesh and Violet Red. This gave the rogue a distinctly purple hew, while still making her look like some kind of hybrid.
For the Rogue's clothes, I opted to go with a combination of Vallejo German Fieldgrey with a bit of Black to suggest black clothing rather than actually use black paint. I find painting black, particularly on a model like this can lose the detail. Instead, I went with nearly black.

The Rogue's hair is Vallejo Blue Violet and White, building all the way up to pure white. 

With a reasonable amount of time spent painting, the Rogue ended up being quite a good looking model and I am happy to have her on the board.

More to Come.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Game Night: Initiate!

My wife Laura and I have decided to start gaming on a regular basis by scheduling a family game night. We've always played games and said to each other 'we should do this more often,' but, until now, we've never played regularly. The hope is to add to our list of things we enjoy doing together, while simultaneously building habits that will carry over to our daughter as she grows older.

Over the years, we have played a number of games. Chess and Scrabble have always been in the mix and I've slowly injected my own games into our rotation over the years. We have played a lot of Space Hulk and even tried Necromunda once or twice.

Recently, Super Dungeon Explore has taken the stage, which has been the inspiration to get it all painted. As I get more painted, the games get better and better.

Last week, we added Malifaux to the mix as well. For this game, we started slowly, with Margaritas and 4 models per crew. Laura took on Perdita, Francisco and two Death Marshals. I took Seamus, 2 Belles and Sybelle. We started very small, using only our standard cache of soulstones, no upgrades and simplified rules. Namely, we didn't add any positive or negative modifiers to flips and we ignored everything to do with Wp. I think this was a good start.

I really hope Laura sinks her teeth into Malifaux and really enjoys it. I know she will probably never be as into the hobby as I am, but it would be great to have it as a shared hobby. In my eye, Malifaux is the perfect game for her to get into, as the game can be played simply or more complexly, there is a wide variety of crews and styles to play and the community is incredibly diverse and filled with our demographic; a good place to make friends.

This week, our plan is to kick it up a notch by adding positive and negative modifiers, as well as throw in Wp rules. After that, I think we'll start looking at using larger crews, then actually building crews to use. Lastly, we'll look at other crews and start playing with upgrades. Slow and steady....

More to Come.


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.