Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


dks last won the day on July 20

dks had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

3623 Adventurer

About dks

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Oakland, CA

Recent Profile Visitors

1827 profile views
  1. Thanks, everyone. My judge-thoughts (for @Guindyloo and @Sanael): You can see the weighting of the scores in this recent post on the ReaperCon subforum. Painters Division: Difficulty 5% Creativity 10% Workmanship 10% Painting 70% Presentation 5% Having judged hundreds of figures over the years, I have an initial feeling of Silver for this one. And no, not because the figure is literally silver-colored! Painting your entry gold isn't going to make me think "gold medal". I start by looking at the painting quality because it accounts for 70% of the total. The painting falls within my spectrum for Silver quality. I don't think there is enough good or bad about the other aspects to bring it up to Gold or down to Bronze, but I'll go through the other points to make sure. I don't assign points to every piece I judge, but if I need to rationalize the numbers, I think of Certificate as 50% or less, Bronze 51-70%, Silver 71-85%, Gold 86-100%. If I think the painting is "Bronze-level", for example, I'll assign a score of 42 to 45 points, which is 60-65% of the max 70 points. I call the painting on this figure Silver, maybe high-Silver (56-60 of 70). It has consistent placement of highlights and shadows, good contrast, fair-to-good blending, good non-metallic metals (NMM), harmonious color palette. It has a lot of room for improvement: smoothness, neater color placement and lining, maybe some subtler techniques such as texturing or weathering. My standard for Gold medals isn't perfection, but it is higher than this. The other numbers... Difficulty is fair (3 of 5), since it is just a single figure, but still has some intricate sculpting to pick out, and a few different materials (skin, hair, shiny metallic leather, metal, water), including non-metallic metal and an attempt at "non-iridescent iridescence". Creativity is petty good -- the water theme is novel for a "dark elf" figure. (6-7 of 10) Workmanship (i.e. cleaning, preparation, assembly) is good. Nitpicks: the left bracer is indistinct and the left hand is chunky. (9 of 10) Presentation is low, for the simple gaming base. (1-2 of 5) Total 75-81% = solid Silver. Open Division: Difficulty 15% Creativity 10% Workmanship 30% Painting 30% Presentation 15% I think this is also a Silver, but probably on the low end, because the conversion isn't very ambitious and would actually bring the total score down from the Silver-quality painting. Again, I start by looking at the quality of painting for my baseline, because that's what I'm most familiar with judging and it is still one of the 2 main components of the score, at 30%. For this figure, silver-quality painting earns 25 of 30. (Note that a figure with even Bronze-level painting (21 of 30) could still win a Gold in Open if it gets most of the remaining 70 points, such as an ambitious and well-executed scratch-sculpt. Conversely, a figure with perfect Gold-level painting (30 of 30), but only simple or poorly executed conversions, could still rate only a Silver or even Bronze as an Open entry. I've seen that situation a few times, and I have checked whether we could reassign the entry to Painters and award a Gold medal there, but most of the time, the entrant already had a Gold-worthy entry in Painters so they got the non-Gold in Open.) Difficulty is low to moderate, since the conversion is simple (weapon-swaps, resculpting half of the face and hair, minor details (goggles), and tilting the stance) -- no major rework (5-6 out of 15). Creativity is also low to moderate, mostly a weapon-swap, but the "riding the wave" idea is interesting (6-7 of 10). Workmanship has equal weight with Painting (30%), and this also merits about 25 of 30. Presentation is low to moderate (7-8 of 15) but I would award a couple more points if the entry included some documentation/WIP shots. Total 68-74% = high Bronze to low Silver. I hope this helps! Derek
  2. The Mexican holiday Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) is coming up on November 2. These are two figures that I sculpted for Reaper, albeit very slowly -- starting in November 2014 and ending in October 2016 (with long periods of inactivity, and other sculpting and painting projects along the way). Izzy "Talin" Collier drew the character designs: Reaper sells them as "Day of the Dead Cavalier" and "Day of the Dead Duchess", DHL 03822 and 03823. If you search for them in Reaper's online store, don't use the words "of" or "the" because those words will blank out all results. Just look for "day dead". (I refer to them as "Diego de Muertos" and "Diana de Muertos".) At last, it is time to paint them. I don't know whether I will use vibrant colors all over or mostly subdued (black / brown) with limited spots of color. I've done some online image-searches, watched the Pixar film "Coco", etc. The traditional flower of the holiday is marigolds (orange-yellow), so that color will be part of the palette. I think I will put them together on one base, but I also don't know how ambitious I'll be on the basing around them -- a bare cobblestone plaza, an altar (sugar skulls, ofrendas, etc.), or more extensive structures and hanging decorations. My first step of painting is to work out the values with blends of Black and White Brush-On Primer: Thanks for reading, Derek
  3. You will paint her in a way I would never have thought of! Looking forward to it. Derek
  4. This is a conversion of the dark elf figure Aundine (14089 in the Warlord line) to represent my latest Pathfinder character, a changeling (orphan of a sea hag mother and a human father) with water-related magic and some rogue abilities. You can see the WIP thread here. I spent about 6 hours on prep & conversion & basing, and about 5 hours priming & painting. This will be a literal "tabletop mini", so I didn't spend the time to get very smooth blends, but it is still much more than a speedpaint. I took especial care on the face and had fun with her shiny "eelskin" armor. Would anyone like to know how I would judge this as an entry in ReaperCon's MSP Open painting contest, in either the Painters Division or the Open Division? Enjoy, Derek
  5. A third and final 90-minute session, mostly involving light green, blue, indigo, and purple (plus white and Blue Liner) on my palette. My shorthand for iridescence on a neutral base color like this is just "green on the upper/foreground areas, and purple on the lower/background areas". So that's what I added to the edging of the core armor and bracers, the leg armor, and her hairpins. (Maybe some day I'll paint a figure with a more complicated iridescent effect that includes the golds and magentas and other colors visible in mother-of-pearl.) I added some indigo into the shadows of her hair and bodysuit, and on the spear haft. I shifted the hue of the goggle-frames and the belt emblem with just a bit of Rosy Highlight. They look almost brassy next to all that blue and green. And I dabbed some white and pale blue on the rocks near the waterline -- to hint at spray in midair in front of those rocks. So... I am ready to call her finished and ready for a Show-Off thread. Although I don't seal most of my figures, which I paint for photos/display only and transport only once or twice a year to conventions, this figure will see active service on the gaming table, so I'll give her a couple of coats of brush-on sealer. Thanks for looking! Derek
  6. Another 90-minute session. Eyes/face; goggle lenses; glazing, smoothing, and lining. Some highlights up to white. Almost finished, I think. She needs greens and purples to get the iridescent mother-of-pearl effect that I'm imagining on some parts of the armor. Derek
  7. Thanks for looking. @Rigel : Wow. "A Undine" didn't occur to me. It must have been fate. Thanks for pointing it out! @Darcstaar : I did some surgery on her right eye, cutting away the lower lid. The shiny surface of the cut-away metal was catching the light weirdly in the photograph. And the green stuff on her rear end was to give full coverage by the bodysuit, rather than just underpants. All that cleaning, conversion, and assembly work took about 5 hours. I spent the next hour on the basing: 30 minutes sculpting a few rocks, and 30 more minutes sculpting waves. Then a 90-minute speed-painting session -- first a value-study in brush-on primer (blends of White and Black), and then the skin and hair and 2 shades of blue glazes (variously on the water, bodysuit, and spear). She is pale like sea-spray or moonlight on the water. Derek
  8. This is the miniature for my character in my current home game, the "Ruins of Azlant" Pathfinder Adventure Path. My character is a changeling (child of a sea hag), a spellcaster with an affinity for water and also some rogue abilities. She presented herself as a human rogue for the first few sessions, but couldn't keep the secret forever. We have finished 2 of the 6 books, playing about twice a month. I was using an elf mini from my collection as a stand-in, but I knew I wanted to paint a mini specific to the character. She wears a suit of magical eelskin leather armor (which we recently found in the game); her main weapons are a longspear, a crossbow, and her claws. I searched through the Reaper catalog and I remembered how much I liked this dark elf from the Warlord line (14089 Aundine), though I had never painted one: So I made a few changes: - cut off the pointy right ear and resculpted hair over it - cut away hair from left side of face and resculpted face and hair - removed sword, drilled a hole through right hand, added a spear: - spearhead/blade from 03466 Taladise elf huntress - shaft made from the wire of a Chinese food take-out container - wrapping and end-cap sculpted from Green Stuff - removed left hand and weapon, replaced with claw-hand from 03337 Terezinya, attached left arm to body at a higher angle than shown in the catalog example - cut right foot off of tab and straightened foot - added goggles with Green Stuff Here was the result of those conversions: More to come! Derek (DKS)
  9. Thanks, everyone! Glad you like her. Yes, I spent a lot of time painting and touching up her face to get the expression just right -- painting her lower eyelids a little higher over the irises, widening her mouth to the left and right and flattening out the Cupid's bow of her upper lip for a more authentic devious smirk. I was composing my initial post when I noticed in the close-up photo that her upper lip was asymmetrical... so I went back to my desk for a few minutes of rework, and then back for a new photo. The layers of paint on the face started to get rough, but matte brush-on sealer smoothed them over nicely. I am pleased with the freckled shoulders, too: dots of thinned Chestnut Brown, and then glazes of the skin midtone and highlight over them. I also painted freckles on her cheeks, but they have nearly disappeared under the subsequent highlights. @Warlady: WWDD? Ha! Make sure that's only a mantra for painting.... @LittleBluberry: Yes, being able to sculpt hair can help you make a mini more your own. Even adding a flyaway strand or two can enliven a miniature, because it is a detail too fine to be cast -- I used that trick on my Lirianne (Pathfinder gunslinger), Seltyiel (Pathfinder eldritch knight / magus), and Dark Carnival Sophie. When I'm sculpting masses of hair in Green Stuff, especially wavy hair, I like the elastic quality that it gets after curing for 30-45 minutes. Julie Guthrie has taught classes in sculpting hair at ReaperCon several years. Start with a bald miniature and add hair! Derek
  10. dks

    Warduke (finished, and pic heavy)

    Strong work. I appreciated reading your WIP thread, seeing the finished figure in person, and talking with you about it. Thanks again. So, next year... Melf, Hawkler, or Kelek? ::D: Psst. I share your appreciation for Warduke... more than I let on. A not-to-be-named artist sculpted this version more than 10 years ago, following the (wrong-handed) Wayne Reynolds art. It was never mass-produced, but I managed to get 2 of the few metal copies and paint them; they both belong to other collectors. I painted the first one with Reaper ProPaints, and this one with Reaper's then-new Master Series Paints: Derek (left-hander)
  11. dks

    60205: Barzillai Thrune (An OSL Study)

    Good work! Photos 1 and 3 look especially convincing to me. One thing that I keep in mind is that the glowing object should have lighter painted highlights (closer to white) than the things illuminated by that glow -- that is, if I squint at the model, the "glowing" object should be the lightest thing. If other objects are reflective (metal, polished leather, water or oil or slime, etc.), then I can paint "reflections" of the emitted light on those objects, but I have to plot the angle at which I expect someone to view the miniature. On my own rendition of Barzillai, I painted reflections of the flame in his shoulder plates. (Thanks for choosing to paint this figure!) I think OSL effects are more visible against a dark background than a light-colored one. I use a piece of Canson artist paper, either gray or dark blue, as the backdrop in my photo setup. I look forward to seeing what you share next. Derek
  12. Reaper released a new miniature for each of the 4 factions at ReaperCon this year. This was the release that represented the River Widows: a woman and a big axolotl, both sculpted by Bobby Jackson. (I figured that "Cailleach" was Gaelic but I didn't know how to say it. A web-search says it is like "Kal-ee-akh". The diphthong "ai" is the sound in our word "pal", not "pile".) I put both figures on one 30mm round base, with a tree stump that I sculpted for her to stand on. I did an image-search for axolotl colors. There are black, brown, green, yellow, pale pink/white ... but apparently the lighter colors are rare in wild specimens and more common for pets. I chose light olive-green (with dark mottling) with reddish gills, similar colors to what Cailleach is wearing. (But see below for how it would look as a lighter color.) I can imagine people getting this axolotl figure to use on its own, for dioramas, etc. I changed her hair a bit to match Talin's concept art more closely (shown here in a photo from the ReaperCon program). The stock miniature has wavy hair covering both ears. I cut away the mass of hair on the right and sculpted a new ear and curls. I also added some sharper curls on the left side. If I hadn't done that conversion, the figure would have looked more like this: A quick experiment to make the axolotl lighter-colored: Enjoy, Derek
  13. dks

    01596 Joy, Winter Fairy, sculpted by B. Ridolfi

    Excellent work. Very smooth. I've painted many miniatures to match the definitive studio paint-scheme. I appreciate your use of the purple/pink glazing on her face to indicate some life/warmth. You clearly have strong technical skills already, so a possible direction to push on your next mini: higher highlights on skin (especially if it isn't Caucasian pink) -- at least as light as you went on the hair here. Reflections on the surface of skin (smooth/clean or oily) can make near-white highlights even on very dark skin. If the highlights aren't light enough, the skin can look like non-reflective suede or cloth. You can see how light Wren made the skin on her version, such as at the left hip. (Sure, the skin of a "real" ice fairy might not have as much of a sheen as normal human skin....) I emphasize this when I teach classes on painting faces and painting realistic materials. Anyway, good luck playing in Reign of Winter! I've read those Adventure Path books and I think it would have been a fun AP to play, with a lot of great scenes and characters in it. (My home group played Mummy's Mask two years ago, and Ruins of Azlant now.) Derek
  14. Thanks again! @Glitterwolf and @WhiteWulfe : I look forward to seeing your painted renditions. Please post to Show-Off when they are ready. @NecroMancer (and @Metalchaos ): I enjoyed coming up with a distinctive "kitsune palette" for these two (bright pastels that harmonize with their orange fur), just as I enjoyed coming up with palettes for the other nonhuman minis that I've sculpted and then painted: 5 derro, 3 hellborn, and 3 tengu. Derek
  15. Thanks, everyone! @Beowulfthehunter: Ah, I hadn't considered who would be playing the characters. At least you can play a kitsune that you like! @Morihalda: Thanks for reading the explanations. I had memories and anecdotes to share about each step of the process: design, sculpt, paint. @Cyradis: Sorry to hear about the bad mold-lines. I find that the tip of an X-Acto #11 blade is usually pointed enough to get into tight spots. I just have to be careful not to snap off the point. You might need some combination of cutting and then patching with Green Stuff (or other putty of your choice) and gloss sealer. You're also a skilled enough painter that you could use freehand brushwork to simulate the texture even if you don't resculpt it to match perfectly. Or if you think the casting is anomalously bad (sometimes a bad figure or a bad mold-spin gets past the QC), try emailing a photo to Reaper and see whether they'll send you a better casting to replace it! @Glitterwolf: Yes, these are definitely Nippon-appropriate. With different colors, she could fit right in alongside your army of undead and demons ... a creepy kitsune ... Derek