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Dan S

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Everything posted by Dan S

  1. I really like that free hand, you have done a great job capturing that traditional oriental art style.
  2. I cant believe I missed this one. A wonderfully executed dynamic scene, amazing work!
  3. Finishing Touches Adding the final details is always my favourite part of a project as everything finally starts to come together. To finish up I pulled out my Diorama Presepe box and started adding the plantlife. I managed to 'fake' some additional ivy by gluing the individual branches from another plant to the wall and trying to then blend it all together to look like one big plant mass. Its far from perfect but it works well at a glace. I also removed one of the skeletons, he just didnt look right, and I just left the one at the base of the tower. Apologies for the lack of WIP shots this for this last stage, I just wanted to get it finished at this point and I knew it was going to pic heavy post anyway. Now I just need to paint up a few miniatures to photograph against it. Overall pretty pleased with the final result.
  4. Fixing the ground I wasn't 100% satisfied with the grass work I'd laid down, as previously mentioned my aim was for the grass to be quite patchy and bare, especially in the court yard. Once glue had fully dried I went back in with a scraper, completely scraping away bare patches in some areas, and just thinning the grass in other places. I also had to come back in with some more dried pigment to touch up the ground work I'd scraped away. I was a little anxious I'd end up messing it up, but I think it turned out pretty well and I am glad I took the risk to try and achieve the look I'd originally envisioned. First stage of wall cover. From the start I wanted the ruins overgrown and to look like they were slowly being reclaimed by nature. I started by applying climbing ivy to the walls in a few select spots, I was a little disappointed as I wrongly thought I still had a full pack of the stuff but it turns out I had less than half a pack left, and so I had to apply it quite sparingly. I normally get my ivy from Diorama Presepe in Italy, but at this late stage I dont want to be waiting a week or two for international delivery, also when ordering from overseas I like to wait until I need a bulk order to justify the shipping costs. As such I'll have a think and see what I can improvise with in order to finish off the wall cover. Initial Decoration Having finished painting a few accessory pieces last night, I also added those to the build. This included a bunch of Reaper Bones crates, barrels and pouches as well as the two skeletons I'd pictured yesterday. Nothing special here, they were all quick and dirty paintjobs (drybrushing and washes), it probably took less than and hour to paint everything. I am fairly pleased with how the project is starting to look now, adding a few small elements have made a big difference. Tomorrow I will move on to adding all the plantlife to the ruins. I'm not familiar with warlords, I'll have to look into them for future reference. As for metal I purposely avoided those as I wanted something multi part that I could more easily shape and pose. I also only paid £2 for the entire sprue of skeletons (Complete with weapons and graves), at that price I snapped them up figuring they would be ideal for dioramas projects or decorating mini bases.
  5. Grass, assembly and initial detail/decoration work. Fortunately it didn't take very long to mend the breakages. Continuing on I masked off all the stonework, and painted the ground in a layer of PVA glue, trying to leave it patchy in some areas so that the earth still showed through in places. I applied some short 2mm static grass and then sprayed the entire area with a grass layering spray. Even trying to mask them, it proved quite difficult avoiding the earthy patches with an aerosol in such a confined space, and so I gave up on the idea, instead coating the entire ground, and just leaving the space underneath the staircase and inner tower bare. Over the layering spray I applied a lighter coloured, longer grass (4mm). I'll add patches and tufts of long grasses at a later stage once I start adding all the plantlife. With the initial groundwork and internal paintwork all finished, I could finally glue down the upper floor tower, walkway and staircase (Hopefully no more accidents now!), and with that my canvas was pretty prepared and ready for the fun stuff! The next step is preparing my decor, the little details that will hopefully start to bring the project to life. I have a bunch of Reaper crates and barrels which I started painting today with the aim of making them look old and time worn. I also put together a couple of skeletons, the previous inhabitants of this long forgotten keep. These are old GW skeleton warriors, I picked up a cheap sprue on ebay. I chose these because they are all multi-part and completely poseable allowing for some convincing corpse builds, I just don't like their hands (which balled into a fist are almost the size of their heads) and so I am not sure if I will keep them, I'll decide once they are painted.
  6. Small Setback and Repairs Unfortunately I had a little absent minded moment this morning which very almost ended in complete disaster. With the pigment now set I flipped the model upside down to tap away any lose pigment that remained in preparation of laying down the grass. I don't know what I was thinking, but I'd completely forgotten the entire upper level was not yet glued down and still loose. The upperfloor of the tower, the walkway and staircase all fell from height onto the hard floor. All in all, both the supports for the upper floor walkway snapped off, and one of the pillars from the upper floor tower broke away, the tower and stairs also suffered a few minor chips. Fortunately all the breaks were clean and should glue back together easy enough, whilst the chips are quite small and I should be able to touch them up with a little paint. Words cannot describe the horror I felt as the pieces were plummeting to the ground! I was extremely fortunate that the damage was so minimal, I think if I'd cast the blocks in plaster rather than dental stone then the damage could have been much more severe. Thank you, used properly weathering pigments can really take things up a level and they are fairly easy to use. They just make an almighty mess!
  7. Weathering the Stone. What I didn't want for this project was a ruin that is just bricks and rubble, I wanted something wild and overgrown, a building slowly being reclaimed by mother nature. To this end I decided to add some mossy green colour to the walls. I applied a very light dusting of green using an airbrush, keeping it focused to the base of the walls and pillars. Conscious of the fact I was a bit overzealous with my dry brushing yesterday, I resisted the temptation to go wild and kept it subtle. With the airbrushing done, I took a lighter green and gently stippled over the top of the first green with a sea sponge to give the effect of some texture and colour variation. Initial Groundwork I had forgot to mention previously, but to give the edge of the foam base a rocky/stone texture, I had cut away vertical wedges from the edge of the foam all the way around the base. I then cut a multitude of lines and gashes coming in at various angles before using a scraper to scuff up the edge and tare out chunks of foam where it had been sliced, this created rock like texture. Moving back to the present I painted this rock edge black, before painting the rest of the base in brown. Typically when I plan to flock a surface, painting the base brown is all I do before I start laying down the grass. However because certain areas wouldn't get the sunlight needed for grass (under the staircase, ground floor of the tower etc), and because I wanted to leave some patchy earthy areas in the grass, I decided to go a step further with the earth. Using powdered weathering pigments, I dusted ground in various earth tones, building up several layers and blending the colours together to give the floor a nice dirty, dusty earthy texture. To fix the pigment I used a misting bottle to spray it with a very watered down PVA glue (Being careful to cover and protect the brickwork), before spraying again with a misting of isopropyl alcohol to help the glue fully soak in.
  8. I'd considered it, its just a case of finding an appropriate miniature I like the look of, and that wouldn't look out of place if I cut it up to make it look like its swimming. At the minute I am leaning towards one of the basilisk models, I wouldn't need to cut it, and with its upper back and head just cresting the water it would look quite convincing as a swimming monster (it would also give me an opportunity to add a statue or two to the scene for a little petrification flavour). I'm in no rush to decide however, I m focused on my ruined keep project at the moment and don't intend to resume this now until I am finished with that. I have actually seen that video, it was one of my inspirations for doing a water based monster scene, along with this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHYIoZpXK_o I thought it was a really cool idea.
  9. Secondary Paintwork - Over Painting With the undercoats dry, it was time to move on to the shading and highlights. I started off with a home-brewed Sepia Ink wash (a 50/50 mix of water and matt medium, a few drops of dish soap, and then I added ink drop by drop until I had the desired colour I don't follow an exact recipe), this tinted all the brickwork, toning down and blend together all the under colours, however it was still a bit light for my tastes so I added some black ink and went over the stonework a second wash which worked much better. With the washes dry, the next job was to further tone down and blend together the under colours whilst bringing out the fine detail of the stone. I started off with an all over light drybrush, using a stonewall grey but the detail work of the brick was not quite 'popping' enough, and so I added a second drybrush of pure white. I think I prehaps over did it with the second drybrush, it was looking good whilst I was working, but after talking a step back, I realise I've lost a lot of the undercolour. I am now in two minds about going over with a very thin glaze and trying and tone down and tint some of that white (it looks a lot brighter in person), but that would risk further subduing the under colouring. On the other hand it doesn't look too bad as it is, it certainly looks like old stonework, just not the look I originally had in mind. I need to think on it. P.S - I realise now looking at these pictures that i have completely missed the undersides of some of the arches.
  10. Yeah that looks like the right type of nib to me, give it a try the next time you paint a mini, its not much work to repaint the eyes white if it goes wrong or if you don't like it. Here is the video where I first saw the pens being used for eyes (skip ahead to 14:55 for the pen bit), he calls it a micron pen but its the same thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bQkQiMKex0 You can also use them for easily putting text onto scrolls and banners etc.
  11. I've never used a sharpie so I wouldn't know, do they look like the pens above? Fineliners (sometimes called line markers or fine line markers) are a type of pen used mainly for technical drawing, they have very fine nibs (Which range from 0.5mm to 0.05mm) that are perfectly round and ideal for dotting your eyes. The brand I use is called 'Graphik Line Makers' by Derwent, I used to do a lot of drawing and so have had a set for years, but only recently discovered how well they do eyes on miniatures.
  12. Looking good, you seem to have made some great progress since posting your first minis a month or so back. On the topic of eyes, ultra-fine line markers are my secret weapon! Some may consider it 'cheating', but I've yet to find an easier way to dot those pupils.
  13. They are the '4" Ruined Fieldstone' and '8" Ruined Fieldstone' molds (they also do a 3" and 6" which I dont own, but I believe they can all be used together), I do not know how old they are, I only acquired them recently (however being #704 & 708 you are probably right about them being newer).
  14. Initial Paintwork - Under Painting The typical approach for these sort of stone buildings is to paint the whole thing black and then go over with several drybrushes starting with a dark grey, and gradually lightening the colour, before finishing off with a dark wash. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this approach (it can look fantastic) I wanted to attempt a more natural look. Stone is not typically just grey, if you look closely at old stonework you will commonly see hues of browns, yellows, oranges, blues and greens, and in older masonry the stone rarely all comes from the same source, so it is not uncommon to see stark variation from brick to brick. To try and achieve this look, I am going to use a technique called under-painting, whereby I lay down a paintjob that I eventually intend to paint over (in my case with washes and drybrushing). The idea is to get some of the under-painting to show through, giving some subtle natural colour variation in the final stonework. I started off by priming the whole keep white, as I really want a light base for this technique and left it to dry for a day. Once the undercoat was dry, I used a piece of sea sponge (You can get this stuff from most local art stores) to stipple on some grey artists acrylic paint, trying to leave random patches of white showing through (this will help to give some gradients and natural transitions in the colours of the stonework later on). Next up I started to paint some of the individual bricks, the trick here is to be as random and sporadic as possible because if you start painting bricks in a noticeable pattern the end result wont look natural. I used a variety of natural tones, including several shades of grey, brown and yellow (Its not to noticeable in the photo but there are 6 brick colours, 3 greys, 2 browns and a yellow). With a selection of individual bricks painted I went back to the sea sponge, this time wiping almost all the paint off (almost like a drybrush) and used it to both stipple on and then blend in some brown tones, almost tinting the whole model to a more browny colour. To finish off I did the same thing with some greens, but a little more selectively to give the impression of a mossy build up. With that done, the model is now pretty much under-painted. The walls don't look particularly great just yet, but they should (I hope... ) start to look a lot more natural and realistic once I start over painting the model. However I need to let everything fully dry before I move on to that.
  15. Those were actually the tentacles I had in mind.
  16. Final Weathering Normally for this sort of weathering I would use an oil paint dot filter technique to create the grimy streaks and water marks on the walls, however I recently obtained a set of weathering pencils and really wanted to test them out. I used a mixture of browns, black, greens and sandy colours to create the vertical streaks, which I then blended with a wet brush. In my inexperience with the pencils, I possibly over did it, whilst dry it didn't seem like I had added a lot of pigment to the wall, however as soon as I touched it with a damp brush I quickly lost control and made a bit of a mess. I'll stick with the oils in future. For the slimey build up, I dipped a green pencil into a pot of water and then stippled and feathered the wet pigment onto the base of the wall. Setting the Scene. The idea behind this backdrop is that the local thieves guild once used the sewers to smuggle contraband in and out of the city until they were forced out by some ancient horror that has taken up residence in the tunnels. The plan is to now turn the tunnel into a long forgotten smugglers camp, untouched since it was abandoned years earlier. The first of my greeble and decor arrived today, so I did a little test fitting before painting. They are all Reaper accessories, including Wooden Crates (SKU77248), Barrels (77249) and bags and jars (77250). I also have a small rowboat on the way, which is what the smugglers would have used to transport their goods through the tunnels and some other small details. I also want to add 'the creature' into the water I just haven't decided what I want to use yet. The issue I have is that I made the sewage canal quite narrow (5cm wide), which limits the size of the monster I can fit in there. I suspect I am probably just going to add some massive tentacles emerging from the water to give the impression there is something big lurking down there, and leave it to the viewers imagination. However if anyone has any alternate ideas that they think could work, I am open to suggestions. The submerged troll from the Bones 5 Billy Goats Gruff set would have been perfect here, its just a shame it wont be released any time soon.
  17. For the blocks themselves I used Dental Stone, for the gap filler it was just Plaster of Paris as I was just trying to improvise with the materials I had to hand at that moment. It seems to have done the job well enough but boy was it messy, I'll maybe give your method a go next time.
  18. Great progress! It seems the past few months have been great for the miniature community if not much else .
  19. Finishing the upper level. Fortunately I didn't have a great deal more to do on the upper floor. I added some inverted arches and ruined pillars to the walls of the 2nd floor of the tower, and then I trimmed down the tiles of the 2nd floor walkway (The paving stone section with the 2 support pillars) into a semi circle so that it would fit flush with the tower. Finally I added some greeble (little candle boxes to some of the walls, small rocks to the bare surface tops of the ruins etc) With that done I tested all the pieces fit together properly (But didnt glue them yet, as it would make painting the interior harder). Gap filling. The only downside I've found to using these molds/blocks is that they can leave some pretty unsightly seam lines and gaps where the individual blocks fit together. To fix this I rubbed dry Plaster of Paris into all the gaps and seams, then using a soft haired makeup brush I dust off any excess that has filled in the detail work. To make the seal permanent I use a spritzing bottle to mist the whole model in water which will soak into the plaster and set solid, it will also help reinforce and strengthen the model against knocks and bumps. I'm now going to give the plaster a day to fully dry before I undercoat and start painting the model. Apologies for the blurred after pic, I didn't realise until now.
  20. After a small set back, I am finally back on track with the ruins project, and with good timing too as I've just halted my Sewer Project whilst I wait on a delivery. Initial prep work. Truth be told these blocks confused me more than a little. Most of them look almost identical and are easily mixed up, which is not immediately apparent and can lead to complications later on in the build when pieces stop matching up. There are approximately 300 individual blocks in this build and so to save myself a headache later I spent an hour sorting out and organising all the pieces. With the pieces organised I also downloaded and printed off a floor plan which I will use when laying the foundations. Next I had to pre-glue a large number of the blocks to form the various building elements, such as; arches, wall section, pillars, stairs etc. At this stage I also took some time to break some of the floor tiles and carve in some cracks. Laying the Foundation. I started off by gluing the floorplan to a piece of foamboard and then started gluing the blocks directly onto the plan. This didnt work as well as I had hoped, I do not know what went wrong but not all my pieces perfectly matched and lined up with the plan, and before long I had started to veer way off the guidelines, I decided to just wing it and hope for the best. By now I had pretty much abandoned my grand ambitions of a massive ruin and was just following one of the Hirst Arts build templates, but despite having a guide progress was extremely slow, it has taken me all night to get the ground floor done. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm pretty pleased with how it is shaping up so far. I've just tested a flickering tealight in the middle of the ruin, and it looks really cool lit up in the dark, so I think I am going to attempt to build an LED campfire. Anyway, that's all I have in me for tonight, I'll try and get the second floor finished tomorrow.
  21. Finishing the floor and weathering the brickwork With the basecoat on the floor dry I moved on to drybrushing, working in some stone colours and gradually getting lighter. I then mixed up a somewhat diluted sepia ink wash to add some contrast and definition to the stones. Once that had dried I painted the debris piles around the buttresses in an earthtone. At a later stage I plan to go over these piles with some powdered pigments to give them a more natural look, but cannot do that until I have finished applying all the washes. With the floor almost complete I mixed up another Sepia Ink wash, this time a lot more concentrated and started coating all the brick work. I used a tissue to blot away the wash in a few selective areas, creating subtle gradients in the colour of the wall. The paint that pooled at the base of the wall was wicked up with a tissue, however some was left and feathered to blend into stone of the floor, giving the illusion of a build up of grime. I used a drying retarder in the ink wash, and so I'll need to wait until everything is dry before I can add the final weathering to the brickwork, but I think it is already starting to look quite convincing as is. Much like my previous project, I have now run into a little setback. As I had not intended to start this project so soon (I had a whole ancient ruin to build first), I do not have all the greeble and decor to hand to bring the project to life. I have a few items on order that should arrive next week sometime, so I will probably resume work on this then. On the bright side, my foamboard arrived today, so I can resume work on the ruins project, I'll probably end up bouncing between the two projects now, it will allow me to be a little more time efficient as I wait for things to dry.
  22. Oh the quest for storage space is a very real problem, I am currently in the process of re-purposing an old wardrobe into a storage unit, by adding some inner shelving. This is where I aim to keep all my backdrops once finished, the vast majority of them I've planned to be quite compact and small like this one and I estimate I should be able to fit at least 4, possible 6 on each shelf.
  23. Initial Paintwork I started by painting the brickwork with a Red Oxide artists acrylic paint, I then drybrushed over some shades of orange in a random sporadic patches to give some variation in the brick, I then did the same with light grey to accentuate some of the brickwork (For some reason my camera has over-emphasised the grey, it looks a lot more subtle in person. I really need to learn to take accurate pictures). For the floor I mixed up an earthy brown colour to serve as the base colour. Once dried this will also be drybrushed. That is all I have time for this morning. Once I have finished with the drybrushing the next step is going to be to apply a dark grimy wash over everything to give it a rank dirty underground feel.
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