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mkozlows's Achievements

Mostly Harmless

Mostly Harmless (2/8)



  1. Well, 2 of the bottles are liquid, 2 are slushy, and 20 are frozen solid. It sounds like if they're ruined, it'll be immediately obvious, so I guess after they thaw out, I'll test them and see how many survived...
  2. UPS shows mine as delivered at 2:15. I won't be home until 5:30, and it's a balmy 7 degrees out right now. Really hoping those paints are okay...
  3. If there's 2K ROW orders left, you're talking about a two day delay. If you can't handle two extra days at this point... man, I don't even know what kind of miniature emergency you're having, but I hope it works out okay for you.
  4. Does that "Kickstarter Core Set" box contain ALL the stuff from the basic pledge? If so, they must have packed it incredibly efficiently...
  5. Incidentally, as someone who was lightly critical of communication in the first Kickstarter, I've been really impressed with the communication in this one. Clear, timely updates, with expectations and uncertainties and risks clearly laid out. Just seriously an A++ job, and you deserve some real praise for it. Hopefully, even though you'll never get rid of those "I never read anything, answer my angry question" people entirely, you're seeing some benefit from that improved communication, too.
  6. Absolutely, that. I actually bought the Bones stuff with no intention at all of painting it -- I figured that even unpainted minis would be cooler than dice or pennies or whatever for a D&D game. But once it arrived, I decided to give the painting a try, and found that I actually liked it. And so since I'm very much learning what I'm doing, I know that I'm not going to paint these things to their full potential, and it seems like a shame to "waste" a great sculpt on what will probably turn out to be a less-than-awesome painting job. And if I only had ten minis sitting around, I'd probably be too intimidated to do anything with them at all. But since I have effectively infinity minis, I don't need to worry about it. If I do a bad job on this one, well, whatever, I still have infinity other minis that I can try better with next time. And so the result is that I move on, and with each mini that I paint, I get to see more of what works and what doesn't work, and try out new things and new color combinations, and learn so the next one is better. So no, I'm not done with my Vampires yet, not even close. But I don't want to be; the Pile of Infinite Minis is pretty essential to letting me paint without worrying about making mistakes. For illustration, here are the first two Vampires I painted: And the most recent two Vampires I painted: So those first two look really bad in the context of what I can do now; and hopefully those last two will look bad compared to what I can do next year. But I don't have to feel bad about that, because I still have more minis than I can possibly ever paint sitting around, so hey.
  7. Seconding the LTPK. Which, you'll note, comes with a skeleton and an orc, which various people here have recommended. The skeleton is a really quick and easy mini to paint, because there's not a lot to it, so it'll get you used to putting down paint and doing a wash. The orc has more detail, and also some fur and chainmail, so it'll build on the skeleton with drybrush techniques and more detailwork (including eyes, yay).
  8. LTPK2 was really interesting for me. When I did the first kit, I was coming into it from a position where I didn't think it was really possible to do anything at all. Even looking at the WIP thread for that, I thought it was all a bunch of ringers who'd painted hundreds of minis already and were just slumming so they could show off, like the kid who takes Spanish 101 in college after four years in high school. So when I actually did the first kit, and found out that I could paint a totally credible tabletop mini, I was flabbergasted and amazed. And I knew that obviously people can do things I couldn't do -- I can see pictures as well as anyone -- but I just assumed those people were magic, and that I was doing basically about as good as any actual human could do, modulo a few mistakes and missteps here and here. And then I do LTPK2, and it pulls back the veil on the magic, and it's revealed as simply being hard work, and careful observation, and all that. And now I'm doing some of the stuff that I've seen those "magic" people do, except that it turns out that I suck at it. Suddenly I've gone from "I'm WAY better than those D&D prepaints" to "I'm nowhere NEAR as good as people who are actually skilled at these techniques." Which, honestly, I think is pedagogically brilliant. First give people a feeling of mastery, and get people who don't think they can do anything at all to feel that they can do ANYTHING AT ALL. And then, after they're feeling a little cocky, show them that they've barely started to learn what they're doing, and there's a whole world of techniques sitting out there that they're going to have to work at to get good at. I can definitely see where LTPK2 would upset some people, and make them want to retreat to the much easier wash-and-drybrush skills that they've already gotten good at, but personally I find it kind of fascinating and challenging to take these new techniques that I'm still struggling with a bit and try to apply them "in the wild." After doing LTPK2, the next figure I've picked out is one of the Kickstarter Bones wizards with a lot of folds in his robe, which'd give totally mediocre results with a wash-and-drybrush method, but has a lot of potential if I can do the highlights and shadow well.
  9. So, now the second mini from LTPK2. This one was really, really hard for me. Part of that is just because I'm an idiot, and was working under dim light, but in a bright room, so had a hard time seeing the detail while I was painting it, but part of it... well, I'll get to that. So, the base skin layer. No problems so far. Now putting on the lighter color. Here's where the problems start. My first problem was that I just had trouble controlling the paint at all. The instructions say to thin it down to the consistency of a near-wash. Okay, fine, I get that. But the problem is, when I do that, now it wants to ACT like a wash, and go all over the place. How do you control watery paint, and keep it where you put it? The second problem was that I had a hard time seeing where to leave the shadows. Almost everything I did looked wrong. But I figured maybe the highlight step would make it look better. So here's after the highlight step, the eyes, the hair, and the base layer of the shirt. (I sort of forgot to take some pictures for a while.) The good news is, the hair worked pretty well, and the eyes came out very well for me. The bad news is, man, that skin. The highlighting made it look slightly better, but it still looks pretty awful. So, one of the things that baffles me about how they do these LTPK instructions is, they have you totally finish the skin before even starting with the clothing (for instance). It's sort of bizarre, because if you mess up at all trying to get the edges of the skirt and get blue on the leg, now you have to not just touch up a skin basecoat, but redo all that shading you already did. In this case, though, that worked out for the best, because the redone shading looks MUCH better. Two wrongs don't always make a right, but here they did. And the finished mini: The bracelet on her upraised hand came out badly, and the scroll could be better (it actually was better, then I tried to do something with the writing, and it failed so hard that I repainted over it, and didn't get it to look as good the second time). But beyond that, I'm pretty pleased. The shirt and skin shading looked like they were going to be a major disaster for much of the process, but in the end, they worked out reasonably okay, I think.
  10. So, "fault" is a loaded word, and I won't use it. But: Giving status reports that are overly optimistic is a common failing of project managers, and it IS a failing. It's a natural tendency -- "If all this stuff breaks the way it should, then we don't need to slip the date, and we've still got a green on our status report, so we can avoid causing a fuss for no reason, let's not even mention this risk" -- but a better way to do things is to keep stakeholders updated with the real status, the real risks, and to provide reasonable probabilities of outcomes. Because a) almost never is your optimistic case going to happen, and b) when it doesn't happen, stakeholders who've been kept abreast of the real situation and the risks are less likely to be negatively surprised than ones who've been hearing "all good, all good" for months only to suddenly hear a different story springing out of nowhere. (And yeah, this is a Kickstarter, so the "stakeholders" here are slightly unusual, but the same basic principles apply.)
  11. Did your instruction pamphlet have a sticker over the paint list? Mine did, which basically said "ignore this, here's the right paints," which matched what was packed in. If you didn't have the sticker, I think you can safely ignore it anyway. Honestly? I wouldn't worry about that too much, because those brushes are pretty awful. I just did the monk from that kit, and at one point I had cleaned and put my Raphael 3/0 brush away, and then saw that I had missed a strap on the leg, so I tried to paint it in with the included Reaper 3/0 brush. It went extremely badly, and I made such a mess that I had to get the Raphael back out and do a whole fix job on it. I love these kits -- the minis are great, the paints are a steal, the instructions are excellent -- but it's best to think of their brushes as a toss-in freebie, and to use a better one if you can.
  12. So, after doing both models from L2PK1, plus a handful of Bones using the techniques learned from that, I got L2PK2 in the mail, and decided to start in on the silly-looking monk. In general, I found the new techniques introduced here to be interesting. The base/shadow/highlight stuff is a lot harder work than the base/wash/drybrush technique of the first kit -- it wants more careful brushwork, as well as some vision in requiring you to choose the highlight/shadow parts rather than letting the brush and wash do it for you. Here I had the instruction book to guide me, and I'm interested in seeing how well I'll do once I freehand it. I do like the cleaner result, though. Anyway, to the Tsuko. I had a couple of pictures that didn't turn out, so the first one I really have is with his skin and eyes all done. For the skin, the contrast between the shadows and the base seems garishly overdone here, but in person, it looks actually good. The highlights I could barely see while I was painting them, and I have to really stare to convince myself that they add anything, but I think there is a certain depth due to them. Or else I'm just convincing myself. As for the eyes, well, the left one was fine; the right one resisted attempt after attempt, and if I had tried layering any more attempts on top there, he would have had bug eyes soon, so I called it good enough. Hair and pants all basecoated. I didn't make any attempt to avoid painting over the pants detail, because I could tell that a) it'd be futile, and b) even if I succeeded, I'd just end up with primer gaps in between the pants and straps. Pants shaded, and here's my first big mistake. I mixed the paints in the proportions they said to in the kit, but the pants shadow came out WAY dark and brown. I wasn't sure if that's how it was supposed to be (it looked more blendy in the pictures, but I've had it happen where I think I'm not matching the pictures until I look at my own pictures later, like with the L2PK1 rat's skin), but now that I've read through this thread, I'm pretty sure I must have just had big drops of brown. Oops. The good news is, it looks okay in person; still overdone, but in miniature. Ribbons highlighted and staff basecoated. I had real problems with the ribbon highlights. It's a thin white, right? Well, I couldn't tell if they wanted me to apply it just to the highlights on the cloth (in which case, they are insane; I could barely pick out those wrappings at all, never mind highlighting certain bits of them), or just put it on as a wash. I started with the former and ended with the latter. Also, this might have the highlight layer for the staff on it as well. There's no way to know, because I kept making it lighter and lighter and repainting with it, but I couldn't make it actually light enough to show up at all. I'll assume it shows subliminally, somehow. The final mini: (The harsh contrast on the first one is from using my phone's HDR mode, as it was too washed-out otherwise. Yes, high-end photography, I know.) Overall, it came out pretty okay, considering it was my first time using these techniques. There are definitely things I didn't do perfectly, but the finished mini has a really nice, clean look that sets it apart from the post-L2PK1 minis I've done, and I'm looking forward to applying these techniques to the next freehand minis I do (after I finish up the second mini from this kit).
  13. It's good to know it's not just me. And the white-then-yellow idea is brilliant. I had slopped some other paint onto the yellow area, and trying to actual cover it with yellow was requiring me to glop on piles of paint; a white cover coat, and then yellow, would have worked perfectly. (And for Maglok: I was going to paint the snakebelly yellow, but I just couldn't face that paint again, so decided to go with the orange...)
  14. So when I went in on the Kickstarter, I never intended to actually paint any of them -- I figured I'd just use them as basic unpainted minis, because hey, for that price, why not. But when I had the pile of plastic sitting in front of me, and saw how much gorgeous detail there was on them, I discovered that I wanted to do something with them. So I bought the Learn to Paint Kit 1, did both the minis in that (which you can see in the WIP thread, if you're curious for whatever reason), and then started in on the Bones. My very first "freehand" mini was a space Marine in Packer colors. I have no gaming use for a space Marine, so figured it was safe to "ruin" if it came to that. I had some trouble with the yellow paint (I'm using Vallejo Game Color stuff, plus the Reaper paint that came with the LTPK; honestly, I prefer the Reaper stuff by a good margin, and will probably just buy that going forward); I used a dark walnut wash over the whole figure, which I realized in retrospect made his face look weird and undead; and using flat gray as a contrast color adjacent to gunmetal metallic gray didn't work out very well. But still and all, I painted a mini All By Myself, and it doesn't look hideous, so I was pleased. Next up, Lord Stoutpants McBearderson. This mini is just dripping with detail, and was really fun to do. The part that was the most interesting to me was realizing how hard it is to "read" the clothes on an unpainted mini. It wasn't clear to me if he was wearing an open-faced "kilt" or a jacket; if the jacket had sleeves; if the collar was part of the jacket or part of the shirt; etc. I like the choices I made (red sleeveless jacket over a popped-collar long sleeved linen tunic over bloomers), though. And I remembered to do different washes on different parts, so the linen shirt and face got an "intense brown" wash, and most of the rest of it got the walnut wash. That worked like I hoped, with the bonus that I put the intense brown wash on his black pants (they'd been intended to be charcoal, but my paint mixing failed me -- more white, I guess?), and it brought out some detail that was hidden in the flat black. My primary disappoint with him was the beard -- I tried drybrushing red over a brown base, to get interesting depth, and it mostly just came out flat. The next mini, it was late, I'd had some wine, and I wanted something easy and unchallenging, so skeleton it is. I hesitated for a while deciding between "bone white" and "dead white" and ultimately decided on a 1:1 mix, which I think was reasonable. Nothing fancy at all on this mini, it's kind of the opposite of the previous one that way. And finally, my... yuan-ti? naga? Snake-person, let's say. I hadn't been satisfied with any of the drybrushing I'd tried to do on anything since the rat mini from LTPK1, so I wanted to try it on something with more texture. It worked... pretty well? I overloaded the brush, or pressed too hard, in a couple of places; but for the most part, it did what I wanted, adding a bright highlight color to darker base colors. I also enjoyed doing some of the detail work here. I have no hand at all for that kind of work, but thanks to the miracles of a wet palette, I was able to keep all the relevant paints ready to hand, to fix any slip-ups easily enough. I know that all this is pretty unimpressive to those of you who've been making fancy display-quality minis. But before I did that first Learn to Paint Kit, I would have sworn up and down that there was no way I could do any of the stuff you see here, so I'm pretty pleased with it all. Next step is to learn some more of these post-beginner techniques, toward which end I have the rest of the LTPKs ordered. The nice thing with this Bones kickstarter is, I've got literally hundreds of minis sitting here, so I don't need to worry about thoughts like "oh, I shouldn't paint that yet, I'll do a much better job later." If I paint these things now, and they look worse than the things I paint later, well, a) it's good to have a visual record of that, b) I've still got more minis than I could paint in a year sitting there, so nothing lost, and c) it seems to me that one of the better ways to improve is to just paint a lot, get experience, and look at what you've done with a critical eye toward improving the next one. Toward which end, any comments or suggestions?
  15. FWIW, I got the Vampire and a case, and there are literally 90 minis that don't fit into the slots in the case. For me, that worked out pretty well, because it meant that the 150 slots were taken up by the minis that did fit in there (even if it seems silly to give each little rat or familiar their own slot); but if you're looking to get all of them into there, you've got a lot of foam-cutting to do.
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