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About mrxak

  • Birthday 08/18/1985

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Boston, MA
  • Interests
    D&D, Pathfinder, tabletop, mini painting, photography

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  1. Hey cool, my suggestion of necromancy coins got picked as the next stretch goal
  2. Eyes are hard. Here's attempt #1. I don't think I went dark enough with the eye liner. I'll go over it again. I might use that color in this image as my basecoat for skin, though. I kinda like it. This is obviously way, way zoomed in, and with normal human vision it looks pretty great already. I'm painting these eyes at 2.5x magnification and it looks fairly good at that level. Still, I want to do better, and luckily I have lots of other orcs to practice on. Anyway, it's already too late at night, so I gotta crash. I'll pick this up again after I get some more sleep.
  3. Okay, so my paints did arrive and then I spent a LOT of time checking that I got the ones I ordered, organizing them, and painting their caps to make finding colors easier. The last step involved a lot of shaking and nozzle-unclogging, which is responsible for most of that time, but I wanted to make sure the color on the caps was the color that best represents what's inside. That meant squirting out a few drops that were in the nozzle to clear any separated color, which quickly turned into abstract art. I call this piece Encounter at Orcfang. Can you tell which paints I now own? I'll give you a hint, one of them is New Gold . This one is Humans Only Tavern. I decided to use a new paper towel for the skin tones. I did a third piece called Oops I Forgot the Liners but that's a rather minimalist work . Anyway, I figure this is more interesting than boring pictures of orcs covered in a thin layer of brown liner. I'm still hoping to get my eyes done tonight, and get those pictures up, but right now I need dinner and some time away from my paints. I do love them though, and my mind is just churning over the possibilities, with the metallics in particular. I don't know what I'm going to do with Sparkling Amethyst yet, and it won't be this project, but I really want to use it somewhere.
  4. Sure enough my backdrops arrived! This is the only orc I've ever painted before, and I did him in about an hour at a convention paint-and-take a year ago. I figured it was only right I post a picture showing off my new backdrops using this guy, since I'm about to give him 15 new friends. I hope to greatly improve on him with this new project. He was one of the very first minis I ever painted, when I didn't really know anything, so hopefully that won't be too hard to do. I am grateful to this guy though for teaching me the effects a wash can have on chain mail. Looking at him now, I can only see the huge number of mistakes I made, and remember how awful it was trying to get him to look even this good, but I learned a lot in the process about washes, the translucency of acrylic paint, and paint mixing. With any luck, this guy will just lower your expectations so I can really knock your socks off when you see what I can accomplish with plenty of time and the education I've gotten from these forums . I did some work on the mold lines today, I'll see about finishing them off tonight as I got the TV on. Then there's really nothing left to do except start painting them when my paints arrive tomorrow. Hopefully they'll come before noon and I'll have pictures of my progress before the evening.
  5. Count me in as another happy H18 backdrop customer. My mini studio looks like this. I cut apart a cardboard box that was exactly the right size as a backdrop holder. I picked up those lights for general-purpose studio work, but they work great at providing nice diffuse light at the front, sides, and top of the mini. Then I get my camera up close with a macro lens. The lights are dimmable so I can do a nice long exposure time. All in all very pleased with my photo set-up. Now I just need some better-painted minis! Starting tomorrow, I'll be giving my sloppily-speedpainted orc berserker 15 new friends. I'll be posting lots of pictures as I work in that WIP topic, using this mini studio.
  6. Yeah, I might try filing down certain areas that are harder to get to. Honestly, I'm not too worried about mold lines, but I figure it's something to do while I'm waiting on my paints.
  7. They're Bones. I listed which ones in the first post.
  8. My backdrops are back on the grid, and out for delivery! Woo! So, I'll be able to play around with those and maybe I'll upload some pictures to the shutterbug forum later. I'll just be glad that my mini photo studio is finally completed, and I can focus on setting up my painting workspace. My paints are also in the state, arrived early this morning, though it's probably wishful thinking they'll arrive a day early and get to me by tonight. Hopefully it's going to be an early delivery tomorrow. I am self-employed, work from home in a job that doesn't require I work in normal business hours, so as soon as the paints do arrive I can actually start painting immediately. Consequently, I will be finishing my prep work today. I scrubbed the minis yesterday, cut off the obvious flash, and all that's left to do now is take care of mold lines. I'm a little nervous I'll cut off bits I don't want to cut off, but if I want to paint ASAP tomorrow I'd better just bite the bullet and get it done today. For the first day painting I'd like to prime with brown liner, or at least try it on one and see if I like doing that. I'll work on eyes after that, and hopefully have time to get a base coat on all of the skin except Kavorgh, who I'll do last after all the other orcs are finished.
  9. Hey, I figure if you want to show off your minis, the least you can do is make sure you're taking the best photographs possible of them. That way there's no distractions and the minis can speak for themselves. Anyway, boiling complete! Well, simmering. I used an old pot I'll dedicate to just mini boiling, since I have concerns about plastic leeching chemicals that might stick to the pot and contaminate food afterwards. I wasn't using that pot anyway. I'll just keep it with my mini supplies. I've also decided on using two of these glass coffee mugs I have for washing my paintbrushes. One for regular paint, one for metallics. I have 8 other mugs just like them, so these two can just be labeled and live with the rest of my painting gear. If I ever have 10 people over for coffee, two of them can use my ceramic mugs . They are nice and heavy thick glass, hold a generous volume, and the handles will be useful for moving them around. I used one of these glass mugs with ice water to cool off my minis after boiling. Water transfers heat much faster than air, so an ice bath cools down the minis faster than sticking them in a freezer. Sure enough, everything I was concerned about straightened itself out well enough on its own in the hot water, just as you said Chaoswolf. Thanks. Even the one berserker is standing up straighter without me having to really try to bend it myself. Nothing is quite perfect, but it's a big improvement across the board and I'll be happy to paint them now. I'll clean them next, and then see where I'm at in terms of mold lines.
  10. Looks virtually identical to the Plano case I have and have been filling up with stuff.
  11. Nice! I'll have to remember that if I'm ever painting away from home. I do have a pretty nice little porcelain palette I plan on using most of the time though. Only maybe 8 by 5 inches. It has a bunch of wells that hold about 10-12 drops and some flat space for gradient mixing and paint straight from the bottle. I can use the lid as another flat palette too (and I may try sticking a paper towel and parchment paper in there to convert it to a wet palette for longer paints). The big thing is going to be organizing my paints effectively so I can take out a subset and keep the rest in storage, since I won't have table space for big paint racks like you have there. Luckily minis are small, or at least the ones I paint are.
  12. It's really cool seeing everyone's workspace. I am in the process of setting up my own, and it's been kind of helpful to see what other people do. I live in a city apartment so I can't do a big dedicated space, but I can learn to pack my stuff up efficiently and take it out when I need it, and arrange it in a logical way for working.
  13. Alright, well I think it's only fair to show you guys some photos, now that I've taken these guys out of the blister packs. I have just two, and they both demonstrate an aspect of this WIP. The first photo is of my photo station, or light box if you prefer, though it's not exactly a light box, more like part of a box and some stand lights on tripods. For anyone who's curious, the box is an Amazon size 1AC box I happened to luck out in getting fairly recently. When I saw the box, I knew I ought to save it, since it was exactly 11 inches on one side, which coincidentally is the same size as Hangar 18's backdrops. The cardboard is not as strong as I'd like, but it's strong enough to hold up a t-shirt (see next photo) and cut down with a box cutter as I've done it looks like it'll work perfectly for holding a backdrop. I might try stiffening it up a bit more with some tape, however. The lights are fairly cheap LED panels I picked up recently with a 5600K temperature (approximately daylight) and up to 3200 lux at 1 meter brightness. They use 30 watts each, so not breaking the bank doing long shooting sessions or superheating my minis, and can be dimmed 0-100%. The best part though is I can hook them up with a cable and control both with the same dimmer, so no guesswork needed when I lower the brightness for longer exposure times (thus cutting down on noise), I know they'll both be the same exact brightness. That's why there's a second cable coming from each light, going under the table. I have a third light (got three for general studio work, but I think I'll only need two for mini photography) that I'll probably use in my workspace while painting since it's a bright soft light at a great temperature for working. I actually used the third LED panel from up high over my shoulder to light the scene, with the two panels pictured dimmed down very low, to cut down on silhouetting and let you see more of the set-up. That explains the shadows; in use, those shadows aren't in the box. They also come with those plastic diffusers you see. I don't think they're really necessary since the light already comes from 360 LEDs across a 10"x10" square, but it's easier to just put them on the panels and forget about them instead of finding a place to store them. For all I know, they may have some minute positive effect. The camera is a Panasonic GH3 which is a mirror-less interchangeable lens camera in the micro 4/3 system. It's not my only camera (I'm a pretty serious photo hobbyist), but it's the one I'll probably do most of my mini photography with because it has the nice flip-open touch screen. It makes it very easy to shoot on the tripod when it's low to the ground. The camera also has a great big battery so I won't have to worry about it when doing WIPs with lots of pictures over many hours of work. I'll be shooting in aperture-control mode for depth-of-field control and using the touchscreen to set a focus point, rather than go full manual. Of course I've set the camera to 5600K white balance since that's what the light panels are, and I'm using the lowest ISO setting. My results testing the set-up were quite promising, but I'll be using this particular painting project to work the bugs out and get very comfortable shooting minis. Consequently, you can expect a lot of photos in this WIP topic once I start painting. I shot this photo (and the next one) with my cell phone camera, but you can expect all subsequent mini photos to be shot with this camera you see, in the photo station. As a bonus for the observant, I stuck my brand new jugs of distilled water and Simple Green under the table to get them out of the way. You might also recognize my demo subject as everyone's favorite Sir Forscale (aka 77008 Garrick The Bold). I don't normally think of orcs as particularly disciplined formation fighters (aside from Lord of the Rings), but hey, this was fun to set up. My backdrops haven't arrived yet. They're supposed to today but I'm still waiting and the tracking info is... confusing. So for this I just put down a gray t-shirt over my light box frame and shot this quick with my cell phone so I could get everyone in the frame. That's Sir Forscale again in the foreground, of course. It's actually a pretty poor paint job I did in an hour at PAX Prime, but from this perspective I don't see too many of its flaws. So, that's Kavorgh with the greataxe commanding his Snipers from the rear, watching their line carefully to make sure they loose when ordered. They're lined up nicely to shoot between the three Hunters keeping Sir Forscale from getting too close with their long spears. He will then have to contend with the three Marauders with their swords and shields, carefully flanking him from the right, and then be enveloped by the two Stalkers waiting for the right moment to circle around and attack his rear. If Sir Forscale manages to survive more than a few seconds, he'll surely be slaughtered when the two Berserkers push their way between the shields of the Marauders and hack away at him with their greatswords. But then, fortune favors [Garrick] the bold! Anyway, a few things I'll have to deal with. Most of the mold lines are not too bad, or well hidden by the sculpt. There's some rather obvious flashing in a couple places. The biggest issues are going to relate to the shapes of the minis themselves. The spears and a couple of the swords will need to be straightened. One of the Berserkers is a bit tippy and will need some bending at the ankles to be stable like his clanmate. I've also noticed that the Hunters are two-piece minis, with their spears and hands a separate piece. One of these is pretty solid, but the other two are a little loose and I think I'll want to get that fixed before I paint them. One, you can even see in the photo, has a significant gap at his right elbow. I can sort of get these pieces back in, but I think I'd better do a better job of it with some glue and/or green stuff. It's off to the art supply store for me, I guess. Am I right in thinking I should do the boil-and-straighten trick before I start gluing and sculpting? Thinking some more about paint, I see that the shields on the Marauders are all metal, not metal-and-wood as I first thought. So I guess the only wood will be on the spearshafts, bows, and Kavorgh's axe handle. Fair enough. I'll probably aim for using the same blackened steel on the Marauder shields and I will for the rest of the armor plates, though I do still want to pain some kind of clan emblem or colors on there. Maybe a paly of five matching the color of their emblem? Maybe a crude chevron or pall? I suppose I could do one of each, to make every Marauder more distinct on the gaming table. Also kudos if you know these heraldry terms without needing to look them up. If you don't know them, think vertical stripes, ^, and Y. Still no idea what that emblem would be. I'll probably choose the color at the very end but I'm thinking a fairly bright color to contrast with dark armor. I don't want red because then I can't have blood stains partially covering it on some of these guys. Orange might be tricky. I'm thinking yellow or maybe woad to go with that whole highlands/Scottish vibe. I could also go with a chalky white. I'm also thinking about the Snipers' bows. I could use different wood colors for them, to help differentiate them, but I'm not convinced and I'm leaning towards ruddy brown. I also want to keep their arrow fletching uniform between them, as it would make sense for the same war band to share a common pool of arrows made from the same feathers. I think I'll differentiate these guys with their quivers, sheaths, and other leather, as well as the furs they wear. All the orcs in a given role will have their own unique skin color, of course. While I'm playing with these guys, I'm also looking at their mouths and thinking maybe a yellowed bone color. I don't imagine they have great dental hygiene. I think I'll paint those yellow, do a wash, and then highlight just a teensy bit. These guys have such expressive mouths, I think it'd be a shame not to put a little extra effort in. Kavorgh has a pretty interesting shield, with some severed hands, a femur, and various other trophies nailed to it. The shield also looks like its made out of two plates of metal, one stuck to the other. I think I want to make the smaller front plate shinier than the back plate. Maybe a silver, maybe a bronze. I'm leaning more towards bronze, but I really don't know. That will be a project in its own right, I think. Thanks Serenity for the advice about freezing to stiffen the plastic prior to de-lining. I did read through Wren's posts but I'd love to actually watch somebody do it. I always learn better from watching than reading. And, while I'm asking for advice, what's everyone's favorite procedure for straightening out Bones minis? I know the broad strokes: boil, straighten, ice bath. The details elude me. Is there a certain amount of working time once it's hot? What should I be using to bend parts with so I don't burn my hands or damage the minis? Do I need to be maintaining its new form when I stick it in the ice bath or will it sort of hold it and I can just dunk and move on to the next mini?
  14. Well as I was getting ready for some prep work today, I noticed I actually miscounted. Make that 77056 Orc Sniper (Archer) x4, for 15 orcs in total. I actually picked up the one Sniper separately, and bought three more specifically so I'd have four total, then promptly forgot about having four. Also missing from my plan was straightening out some parts that got a little bendy in transport. Mostly spears, on the 77045s, and a few swords on the other guys. Kavorgh and the Snipers look great, though. Anyway, I'll be taking out all of these from their blister packs today, looking at mold lines, and cleaning them. I already see a pretty big chunk of flash on one of the Stalker's swords, which I'll definitely want to deal with. I should also have my photo backdrops arriving today, so I may take a picture or two of the Berserker I already did at a 1-hour paint-and-take about a year ago, and use that as an example of some of the things I want to accomplish/improve. Can anyone point me to a good tutorial, ideally a video tutorial, about removing mold lines from Bones? I'm a little bit nervous I'll do it the wrong way and end up cutting off parts I don't want to cut off.
  15. Yup, definitely red frosting on that cleaver.
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