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About sgmustadio

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  1. After ReaperCon in October, I took a break from painting for a bit (some video games held my nightly attention for a while...). However, I finally got around to finishing the three minis in the Layer Up kit. Once again, many thanks to @Wren for amazing instructions. I deviated from them some to try out a few things from ReaperCon, like basing and using black and white paints to attempt some NMM effects. I'm happy with the way they came out. Between the kit and ReaperCon, I think my skills have definitely approved. Keep making awesome stuff, Reaper!
  2. I just learned about ReaperCon Live, so I made a few (read: lots of) purchases so I can participate in the classes With that, I ordered a Raphael 8404 #1 based on many recommendations (and it was a little cheaper than a W&N Series 7 from blick.com). So, we'll see how I like it! That welled palette looks like a cool idea, and the number of layered colors is impressive, going from the darkest tone to the lightest. I can see how, with such time and effort (and no small amount of skill), you're able to make super smooth transitions. Thank you for all your help, @Wren !
  3. Thank you, @Wren! I feel like I'm learning a lot with the kit and by trying out different techniques. I used to work for an electronics company where I designed a few kits and tutorials for beginners, so I have an appreciation for all the hard work and thought process that you put into the kits! I definitely appreciate the video link--it does a great job of explaining where the light is falling on metallic objects (especially flat objects, which I'm struggling with). Also, thank you for the tips. I didn't think of watching the paint on my palette--I've always assumed I can just keep dumping new paint on old (drying out) paint, which may be the culprit. I just started experimenting with a wet palette, and I'm enjoying how long it keeps the paint wet and workable. I use a Tupperware lid with a moist paper towel under some parchment paper. I put the Tupperware bottom on top of the lid and keep it upside down in my refrigerator, which seems to keep some of the paint wet until my next session. I'll make sure to stay away from paint once it's starting to dry out. I'm doing my best to just use the #1 brush that came with the kit and only use the #3/0 brush for hard-to reach details (e.g. under an arm). I was able to do the eyes and pupils with the #1, so it does seem that keeping a good tip is more important than smaller bristles (as people have mentioned). My goal is to finish all 3 minis in the kit before looking to upgrade my brush.
  4. Good to know, thank you! I'm finding it difficult to get skin tones down, so I'll keep those in mind. Thank you, @Al Capwn. Doing surface mount soldering for the past decade has definitely helped with brush control, and I've learned to appreciate things like good lighting. I also recently discovered the wonders of using a mini holder (after reading a ton) while painting, as it allows me to brace my hands against something. I didn't think about using inks to help with consistency, so I might have to invest in some. Appreciate the other tips as well! I didn't know about the differences among the high-end brushes, and so I can see why most people recommend the W&N Series 7.
  5. @Serenity - Thank you for the thread and blog links--those are incredibly helpful! I've bookmarked them for future use. Once I'm done painting a few more minis, I'll look into upgrading my brush. @ManvsMini - Thanks for the tips! I'll have to give them a shot. Good to know about the knife being really sharp for the mold lines. I'm glad I'm not the only one that's seen the "bumpy" paints before. I also picked up the Vallejo starter paint set, so I'll try the skin tone in there to see if it has similar issues (I do like how the Layer Up! kit has multiple skin tones, though). And that is the #1 brush that came with the kit. I'll have to try the soap trick you mentioned. @Gadgetman! - I'll experiment with adding a base layer of different colors under the skin tones, thanks for the tip! This is the brush soap I got: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0027AEANE @SparrowMarie - Thanks for the brush recommendation! Do you have a recommendation for skin tone paints for fair skin?
  6. Hi all! I'm just getting back into mini painting after a 12-year hiatus, and it seemed like a good thing to do during quarantine (and to reduce my screen time before bed). I had forgotten how much fun it was! I am very grateful for the Reaper Learn to Paint kits--I think they're incredibly well designed to teach someone the basics or to take painting to the next level. I remember being able to drybrush and wash decently, but I never got the hang of layering, so the Layer Up! kit was a perfect fit for me. Upon receiving the kit, I noticed it was missing the wizard figure. I sent an email to Reaper, and their amazing customer service got back to me right away and sent a replacement. Good customer service always makes me a fan of a company, so I'm going to support them where I can (e.g. buying more Bones miniatures to paint directly from their website rather than Amazon). Even though I was supposed to paint the wizard first (according to the guide, which, by the way, is very well written and laid out--many kudos to Rhonda Bender for the excellent tutorials!), I couldn't wait, so I jumped to painting the gnome character (once again, super happy about a non-hypersexualized female character...I mean, who goes adventuring in a bikini?!?). I followed the guide for the bulk of the painting (cloak, skin, blue accessories) but deviated some to try out new techniques (basing, leather highlights, gems, non-metallic metals). She turned out much better than any of my previous miniatures, so I'm really happy about it. I'm starting to understand how layering works! Some things still need a lot of work (such as my attempt at NMM, which is way trickier than I thought it would be). I still need to add varnish and some grass tufts, but here are some photos of how she turned out: Now, on to my questions (which is why I'm ultimately posting this in the Tips & Advice section): 1. Any tips on sanding, filing, or scraping away mold lines and flash in areas of fine detail? I read a bunch about how the Bones material could be cut with a hobby knife or lightly sanded. I did my best, but I still found some in the finger grooves or by the right ear of the figure. If I sanded/scraped too much, it ruined the detail (which is why I'm not showing the right ear...she no longer has a right ear). 2. I did as the guide instructed and painted a base layer directly on the miniature with no thinning or priming (and after scrubbing the miniature with soapy water and a toothbrush). I noticed that the paint has a grainy or bumpy texture to it as a result (see the arm in the close-up photo). Any advice on getting a smoother texture from the paint? 3. My brush is starting to look pretty rough after painting only one mini. I've been following (as far as I know) all the best practices: don't get paint in the ferrule, wash regularly, use special soap to clean after a few painting sessions, don't use for drybrusing, etc. Any idea what might be causing a brush to get worn out so quickly?
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