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Grumpy Cave Bear

GCB paints: 77116 Colossal Skeleton

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It's been a short while, but I'm back with another project. This time around, I'm going to tackle this guy: 77116 Bones Colossal Skeleton.


This'll be an interesting paint project for me, because I won't be able to depend on using an airbrush as much as I did for painting Kaladrax. I'll be out of my comfort zone and trying a lot of techniques that are new to me.


There's a large gap where the skeleton's torso connects to the waist -- I could use an epoxy putty, but there's been something I wanted to try for a while: Alteco SSP-HG Instant Adhesive Putty, a two-part gap-filling compound that's meant for filling seams on vinyl and plastic models.


I got this product mail order, and of course there's no English instructions -- it's all in Japanese. Fortunately, my S.O. was able to puzzle out some of the Kanji for me.




The package comes with a large round jar filled with "micro-balloons" (a white powdery substance!), two bottles of a thin, slow-setting CA, a smaller bottle of "flex agent" -- it's supposed to make the compound less brittle (the translation was unclear) -- a measuring spoon and mixing knife, and a few plastic-coated sheets of paper for mixing on.




The instructions were 12 drops of CA per spoonful of micro-balloons, but I didn't need that much, so I halved the recipe. As you can see, the mixture starts out slightly goopy, and apparently has a working time of about 2-4 minutes.




I iced the connecting pin and area around it with the mixture and jammed it into the slot. Then I wiped the excess off with a q-tip soaked in lacquer thinner (it doesn't appear to attack Bones).




Finally I added in a bit more and teased it with an X-Acto blade tip as it firmed to disguise the seam. Not too shabby...


Quick summary review of the SSP-HG: On the plus side, it works quickly and it sticks and holds firmly to the model, and it sands and carves fairly well once dry. On the minus side, it's initially goopy enough that you can't sculpt it like green stuff, it dries to a rough surface, and it appears to be fairly brittle when dry, though i could try the flex agent for that. Its best use appears to be for filling gaps and sanding smooth afterwards.


Not that it matters much, anyway; I went online to look it up, and it appears to be long out of production. I'm glad now that I kept the CA in the refrigerator.


Finally, I put a base coat of paint on the model. Once again, I experimented with another product I had heard about but hadn't tried: Multi-surface acrylic craft paint. It's a fair bit more expensive than regular craft paint. The brand I tried was FolkArt, since I heard it sticks well to plastic, though I suppose you could use Martha Stewart brand, since both brands are manufactured by Plaid Crafts.


It's too thick to be used straight out of the bottle, so I thinned it with a generic ammonia window cleaner mixed with water until milk-like in consistency and airbrushed it onto the model, using several light misting coats (drying between each coat) so it didn't run.




As you can see, it goes on fairly glossy. What you can't see is how well it adheres. I usually try a "scratch test" on anything I base coat with. This paint passes with flying colors -- I was only able to remove a little of it by scratching hard enough to damage the underlying plastic. This paint sticks to Bonesium at least as well as Liquitex gesso. (I only wish I had purchased Burnt Umber instead of Bark Brown.)


Next time, I'll start painting on some Reaper colors, and see how well they stick to this base coat.

Edited by Grumpy Cave Bear
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Looking good.


For Folk Art, you might want to try what they used to call Artist's Pigments. They are thicker and far heavier on pigments in the Pigment / binder / filler ratio. After 2008 they rolled the colours into the main line, but so far the formula has been the same. Some of the colours are hard to find which is a real shame since the 463 Dioxazine Purple is the DARKEST purple I have ever seen in a craft paint.


FolkArt Artists’ Pigments
758 Alizarin Crimson 
481 Aqua 
476 Asphaltum 
484 Brilliant Ultramarine 
686 Burnt Carmine 
943 Burnt Sienna 
462 Burnt Umber 
453 Butler Magenta
720 Cobalt 
463 Dioxazine Purple 
237 Fawn
471 Green Umber 
461 Hauser Green Dark 
459 Hauser Green Light 
460 Hauser Green Medium 
235 Ice Blue Dark
233 Ice Green Light
521 Lemon Yellow
914 Light Red Oxide 
455 Medium Yellow 
435 Napthol Crimson 
522 Phthalo Blue 
486 Prussian Blue 
479 Pure Black 
689 Pure Magenta 
628 Pure Orange 
452 Raw Sienna 
485 Raw Umber 
629 Red Light 
458 Sap Green 
480 Titanium White 
456 True Burgundy 
679 Turner’s Yellow 
504 Vandyke Brown 
649 Warm White 
503 Yellow Citron 
918 Yellow LIght 
917 Yellow Ochre 
I underlined the really dark colours for deep basecoats.
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I had just a little time tonight, so I used it to base coat the second colossal skeleton and a couple of other models (which won't be appearing in this thread). I figured I had the airbrush out, so I might as well batch-paint them.


The idea of using Folk Art Multi-Surface paint as a base came from a thread on the Dwarven Forge site where the author (Cody N) was testing several cheap paints for the Dwarvenite Game Tiles. This paint came up as the clear durability winner, so I did a few tests with scraps of Bonesium and found it worked just as well on that. The color selection on that line is pretty limited so far, only about 40 colors and a handful of which are suitably dark, but since it's a base and won't show much, I'm not worried. Of the colors suggested by scorpio16, only Pure Black and Burnt Umber are in the Multi-Surface line.


Tonight I tried using isopropyl alcohol as an airbrushing thinner, which doesn't work -- the paint was starting to clump and curdle in the mixing jar. Just plain water as a thinner worked about as well as the ammonia window cleaner, at least for the warmer temperatures we've been having lately, so I finished basing with that.


I'm also excited about using a bunch of new colors on this project, too. Last week, Cool Stuff Inc cleared out their unpainted miniatures lines and paint at 60% off. I learned about this only just as I was going out the door to work, so I quickly dropped one of every remaining Reaper single paint (the sets were already gone) into the shopping basket and checked out. I didn't think of getting any of miniatures or telling anyone else until after I got to work, and by the time I got back home it was just about over.


But this arrived on my doorstep over the weekend:




Over 100 Reaper paint bottles! In one swoop, I tripled size of my paint set. I even completed a few more triads. It took a couple hours just to shake, test, sort and mark a drop of color on the lid of each bottle.


Now I have to put them to good use...

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I had only a short time tonight, so I sprayed the second colossal skeleton, and did a quick-and-dirty lining job on both with Reaper Brown Liner:




The Brown Liner works well. I'm glad I got two bottles of it.


My wife, bless her, looked at the work in progress and asked: "Aren't skeletons supposed to be white?"


Next up, putting the base colors down.

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I started out this evening by basing the tombstone hammer with Shadowed Stone, then basing all the boney bits with Bone Shadow. Nearly four hours later, I had only finished one skeleton's bones and still have another's torso yet to go:




Ugh. It's going so slow, partly because I'm trying to leave a little of the brown liner between colors, and partly because the Bone Shadow doesn't cover well and I have to paint two coats. I'm trying to do a "high tabletop" quality -- is this to be expected?

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I continued through basing the second skeleton's torso tonight. No picture, because it's the same as the first.


I picked up on two things tonight, though. The first was the Reaper Retarder. I tried it at about 1 drop retarder to 3 drops paint, and it seemed to slow drying time considerably, which is useful in the currently very warm weather. I was having trouble with paint drying out before I could use it, even thinned with water and on a homemade wet palette. The retarder slowed that down to where I could most of it on the model before it dried. The paint is still tacky after most of a day, however. We'll see if that improves.


The second was changing brush size and type. I was using a number 0 round, with a 3/0 round for edges and details. That was taking a horrible amount of time to fill in anything. In a fit of frustration, I started through my brushes, looking for anything that would keep a good point and hold paint. I pulled any brush that would't hold a point when wet or had splayed bristles -- about a dozen, some of which were 10 years or older.


I finally settled on a Lowell-Cornell No. 2 Liner (synthetic) that hadn't been used before. I was surprised in a good way. It held its point, so I was able to get down to quite small detail, while the long bristles held more paint, which meant not having go back to load the brush with paint as often as the shorter bristled rounds or smaller sizes. The long bristles also meant the paint never got close to the ferrule, which has ruined a number of brushes for me before.


I think I'll try using liner brushes over rounds for a while, to see how well they work.

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This is not unusual for good tabletop. Personally for a figure this big I'd basecoat in my mid tone, then use a "magic" wash like Army Painter Ink Strong Tone, then one drybrush over the top, to avoid that possible coverage issue. For Kally I plan to basecoat warm bone of some sort, then wash with Soft Tone just in case Strong is too.... well... strong. Putting another thinned wash down is easier than drybrushing.


Buuuuuuut, that said, For a really big figure you might get better drybrush speed by getting a small house painting brush and using that... I will have to try it sometime and let folks know. It SHOULD work fine if you get the "dryness" right.

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I've been wanting to post all weekend, but every chance I had was taken up by the kids occupying the tablet, so no in-progress photos until now.




I've based most of the rest of the details, including the wood, leather and rope. I've decided on an color scheme with shades of orange, brown and purple, which is why the cloth strips are based with Dark Elf Shadow and the base is Burning Orange. (It's bright now, but after a few brown washes, and lighter drybrush layers, it will look like desert terrain.)


Next, I have to work out how I'm going to paint the furs around the waist, as I've never painted furs before.

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This is not unusual for good tabletop. Personally for a figure this big I'd basecoat in my mid tone, then use a "magic" wash like Army Painter Ink Strong Tone, then one drybrush over the top, to avoid that possible coverage issue. For Kally I plan to basecoat warm bone of some sort, then wash with Soft Tone just in case Strong is too.... well... strong. Putting another thinned wash down is easier than drybrushing.

Good advice, and very much what I did when painted Kaladrax. One thing I did with the wash was thicken it with matte medium to soften the color gradient. Kaladrax's details are soft and any sharp edges in the wash would look out of place.


Buuuuuuut, that said, For a really big figure you might get better drybrush speed by getting a small house painting brush and using that... I will have to try it sometime and let folks know. It SHOULD work fine if you get the "dryness" right.

Maybe not a house brush, but a 1-inch trim-painting brush might work. Or maybe a stencil brush... Has anyone tried dry-brushing with that?

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Back at it! I've shaded and dry-brushed the ground and burial shrouds, then layered the skeletons, using Shadowed Bone as the shadow, Alien Flesh as the mid-tone and Graveyard Bone as highlights. It's about 7 layers of color on the bones, and a bit messy, but not bad for a first try for layering. One more mental roadblock cleared away.




I've been tinkering with these skeletons for too long. Maybe if I push, I can get them done by the weekend.


Next up is the tombstone hammer and various details.

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