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  1. Next up in the series of Useful Potential Innocent Bystanders is this one — 77084:Townsfolk: Innkeeper. I wanted to make his apron and wash-cloth look disgustingly unhygienic, and I don't know that I've really achieved that, but I'm pretty happy with it nonetheless. The pockets and folds do make it look a bit like he's wearing a happysmileyface.
  2. In spite of my initial inclinations to leave all the townsfolk in stunning black & white, I started painting them in colours after all. The first of them out the gate is this housemaid or charlady or serving girl or whatever you want to call her. She's figure number 77088: Townsfolk: Grandmother, though she doesn't look very grandmotherly to me. This could be quite a flexible gaming piece in terms of time period; she could serve for pretty much any time from the 1300s to the 1920s.
  3. There's some town-based action on the near horizon in my D&D campaign, so I thought it behoved me to get some innocent bystanders painted in preparation for the inevitable carnage. These are from the Townsfolk sets, from Reaper's first Bones Kickstarter. I have another identical set as well, so there are plenty of potential victims to stock any likely scene. I've under-coated these in black, and then sprayed a downward-raking coat of white to bring out the contours of the figures, and to provide some artificial shadowing. I was going to over-paint with glazes and washes, but to tell the truth I kind of like them just as they are. I think I might just leave them monochromatic, for the time being at least. Then I can play my town action in arty-farty "Sin City" black & white.
  4. I've finally got around to painting a figure for my character in my friend Joff's Traveller game — Cyrus Button, bodyguard, enforcer, and party accountant. It's Bones 80016: IMEF: Nick Stone. Just in time for the campaign to fold. Oh well, timing is everything, they say. We never really used miniatures in that game anyway.
  5. The arrival of my Bones Kickstarter box was very welcome, but the sheer mass of figures was, frankly, a bit daunting. I decided to start the painting with something simple.... Quick and easy. Then I went for a figure with great nostalgic associations for me, since he's a dead ringer for my very first AD&D character that survived longer than a single session, Smirnoff the Huge and Stupid. He even has Smirnoff's gigantic axe and tiny, tiny head. Pity I didn't have it when I was actually playing him, but them's the breaks I suppose. I made an error using a Vallejo wash over the armour instead of the superior Citadel washes, or one of my own concoctions*. The Vallejo washes are rather gloopy; I'm not that impressed with them really. The figure is glued to a steel washer, which is why the base is extra-thick. Next up, a creature that beholds, while simultaneously maintaining its product-identity-sensitive status by pretending to be called something else entirely. Getting a paintbrush inside that mouth was a giant pain in the bum; I'd have much preferred it if the miniature had come disassembled, allowing me to paint its innards and then glue it together myself. It now has a significant dental tartar problem, among its other personal defects. I glued it to a 30mm steel washer and expanded the base modelling with Green Stuff.
  6. This is one of Wizards of the Coast's pre-painted plastic D&D figures, which range in quality in both sculpting and paint from not bad to bloody awful. This one, a Fiendish Tyrannosaurus Rex, (ahem, see comment below) isn't too bad a job of sculpting, but the original paint job is downright horrible — hence my re-paint, which isn't great, but I think it's a definite improvement. The original (horrible) paint job: And my re-paint, featuring lots of nasty pus-filled sores (no wonder it's so bad tempered): I really hate the way WotC have copped out on new monsters by taking old ones and making them 'fiendish-this' or 'abyssal-that' or 'half-dragon-the-other'. It bespeaks a certain laziness and lack of inspiration when it comes to naming.
  7. Here's another project that started life as an excess-putty-monster, and now has morphed into a mixing-up-putty-on-purpose-monster. The eyeball is a 12mm ball bearing I had lying around, one of a bajillion I salvaged from a cheap Chinese magnetic construction toy that I bought to get the rare-earth magnets. I may extend its eyelids a little further forward; I haven't quite decided yet.
  8. MojoBob

    Light Stage

    I've just whipped up a very cheap and easy light stage which will make photographing my miniatures about a bajillion times easier. That's not the best photo in the world; I probably should have moved the light out a bit so that the stage isn't so over-exposed. Essentially, it's just a seamless stage built from foamcore and light card, surrounded by a cardboard cylinder, painted on the inside with matte white paint (I also tried silver; it's not that great), and with a cut-out in front to shoot through. A single daylight bulb provides all the light I need; a key overhead light, and lots of diffuse reflected light from all around. It's not a lighting setup that would suit portraits of human beings, but it shows promise for little toy tanks and roleplaying dollies. I've done some quickie test shots to try out various parameters — the results are entirely unsurprising. The best, easiest results come from using a matte white reflective shell, and a neutral grey background. That ensures that the stage itself isn't affecting the colour balance or under (or over) exposing the image. White shell, neutral grey stage Silver shell, neutral grey stage. Not too bad, but I notice it starts to blow out some highlights. White shell, light blue stage. The background colour forces the camera's automatics to under-expose the image, so the miniatures look darker than they should, and tonally flat. It could be fixed with post-processing, but why go to all that trouble if you don't have to? Silver shell, light blue stage. Pretty much the same issue as the last one, but slightly worse.
  9. I like to mount my figures on steel washers, as I've mentioned before. That often means I have to extend the figure's base so that it doesn't look like it's just been plonked down on the washer. Normally I use Green Stuff, but that takes an age to cure, and I don't really have as much patience as I ought. So I've been looking around for something that I can model easily and that cures quickly. Super Sculpey seems to fit the bill nicely. It doesn't cure without being exposed to heat (130°C, 15 minutes per 6mm thickness), so I can take my time with modelling, unlike with fast-cure epoxy putties. I was a bit unsure whether the heat would be too much for a plastic miniature, but it seems to be fine: the Bonesium does get soft and wobbly, but the low temperature required to cure the Sculpey doesn't come close to melting it. The only issue I've found with using Sculpey, as opposed to Green Stuff, is that it doesn't stick to the plastic very well at all. That's not a huge problem though, and I can see times when it would be a positive advantage. Note: I'm not sure how much use this photograph really is; sculpey and bonesium are both a huge pain to photograph in detail, both being ever-so-slightly translucent. Ah well, there it is for what it's worth.
  10. Next up on the Bones Kickstarter painting list is the Hydra. In general I quite like this figure, but I'd like it better if it was a little more compact — not smaller, exactly, but maybe a bit more curled around itself rather than stretched out. I think that would make it more useful as a gaming miniature. Anyway, on to the painting. So far I've just applied the base colours and given the whole thing an initial wash to bring out the detail, so that I can see what I'm painting. I didn't leave the base paint to cure for long enough; the wash pulled off a little bit of paint just above its hips. Not to worry, that should be easy enough to fix when the detail painting gets under way.
  11. In amongst the clutter in the photo above, you may be able to just make out my next Bones painting project — it's a griffon. At the moment it's still disassembled; I'm painting the wings and body separately to ease handling, then I'll glue it all together and touch up the joins. Your traditional griffon is supposed to have the head and forequarters of an eagle, and the hindquarters of a lion. I'm intending to keep the lion bit, but I'm painting the forequarters in the style of one of our New Zealand birds, the kea, which has spectacular green and red plumage. The kea is actually a mountain parrot, not a raptor, but I don't really care about that because they look so cool. They're also frighteningly intelligent and mischievous, and one of their favourite fun-time activities is to strip all the rubber seals from tourists' cars, breal off their aerials and let down their tyres. Imagine that personality in something the size of a winged lion? Cooooool! http://mojobob.blogspot.co.nz/2013/09/wip-kea-griffon.html for more, including some photos of keas. They're great!
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