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Gargs' Secret Christmas Project

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So this is my Super Secret Christmas Project for Mrs. Gargs (don't worry, this isn't all she's getting).




Holiday Mouslings wonderfully sculpted by Gene Van Horne.

I'm going to be giving this a go as a stocking stuffer for Mrs. Gargs. Now, I have no hope in heck of matching the beautiful paint job seen here, in fact, I'll be thrilled with a high table top quality on this as I'm just still new at this and don't get near enough time to paint as much as I'd like to in order to improve. That said, I do think I can at least get a halfway decent job done on this (by my standards anyway). However, it won't be without its challenges. In fact, I've identified three major hurdles already:


1. The Super Secret. You see, my painting desk happens to be the dining room table and sits roughly 15 feet away from where Mrs. Gargs is usually sitting while I paint, and we very much have an open floor plan. So, keeping it a secret will be the first hurdle. I will at least have a decent amount of time on Saturday while she is at work in which to get a good start, but I am very much a slow painter, so in addition to trying to do the best I can, I will also likely be trying to get stuff done quickly.


2. Ummm, yeah, there's a snow man. He's white. I haven't ever gotten a handle on white (admittedly still new). No getting around though, gonna have to give white a go. (Yeah, sorry, not gonna do a yellow snow man ;P).


3. Basing. I'd love to do something a little fancier than the stock photo, but that's probably the best I can hope for. I may have to go searching for the main piece of base though as I don't think these guys are all going to fit on a 50 mm base, which is the largest I have at the moment. I'd gladly sculpt something (and will consider any and all suggestions) but the next thing I sculpt will pretty much be the first. That said though, for using snow on a base (I have some snow flock from Army Painter) do you normally put down a layer of green stuff for the ground, or just throw it on the plastic/wooden base directly?


At any rate, I strongly encourage/appreciate/request/etc. any and all feedback along the way. Criticisms, critiques, suggestions, etc. Its all good. One of the things I hope to accomplish out of this is actually improving! And if I pick up some new skills along the way, even better! So don't hold back, I'm going to be trying a lot of new stuff along the way here, so I really do appreciate any comments and feedback!


As always, thanks in advance!



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First step (priming) done, and now on to the first mini obstacle.  Eyes.


Up until now, my eyes have consisted of either a) keeping them "closed" (i.e. paint skin tone over them), b) white oval followed by tiniest black dot I can muster, or c) full red eyes for animals/monsters. Obviously those are "ok-ish" from a table top perspective, but they are hardly eye catching. So I'm going to try to up my eye game a bit here (and thankfully they are still animals so that makes it a bit easier). In the stock photo, they are mostly just dark orbs, so I am starting from there and went with a base of black (P3 Thamar Black) and then added in some walnut brown -- which didn't really change the appearance much. I did however manage to add in a dot of white to give some eye shine, but it still doesn't quite look right to me. I'm not sure why. Are the eye shines not lined up right? Do I need more white around the dark parts of the eyes? Or am I just over thinking it?




This is as far as I got today as Mrs. Gargs came home early. Sorry for large picture size, still working on figuring out proper photo editing for this stuff. :p


Mostly just base coated the fur some to be able to get a good look at the eyes. Anyway, as I said, any help is greatly appreciated!

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Got some decent work in today while Mrs. Gargs was at work:




Got a little crazy with the drybrush here unfortunately and the right side of the face (her left) got a bit too white for my liking, but will take another look as I get closer to done. Gloves and hat are Breast Cancer Pink with a shade of Breast Cancer Pink + Amethyst Purple, the Amethyst will serve then as a highlight for the jacket and probably the base for the fur trim on the coat (unless anyone has a better idea)?


The drybrushing also got a bit into the eyes, so may need to touch those up (forgot to seal ahead of time) but at least its only really noticeable on camera.




Based the fur on the top guy in Leather White and the bottom in Intense Brown. Used Agrax Earthshade to shade the bottom guy then various browns/tans drybrushed for highlights. I'm struggling a bit on what to do with his eyelids (he's squinting his eyes shut) in order to define them. Everything I've tried so far seems to be too much.  Any suggestions?


Finally, I did lay down a base coat of leather white on Frosty, but have not had time to do anything else with him yet (which would make for a boring picture). I'm sure I will have plenty of questions when I get to him though!


As always, any advice, critiques, suggestions, etc. are most welcome!





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A little bit of forward progress and a little bit of backward progress this morning:




Been working on the two brush blending which seems to work a lot better for shades for me than highlights. As you can see the Nightshade Purple blended in well enough (not perfect, but good enough) but the Amethyst Purple, not so much. Seems to hit me harder on highlights than shades and highlights are definitely my kryptonite right now. If I have time, I will go back and try the coat again, though it does at least look better at the table top level, but still, not as good as I would like. I'm sure part of my problem is simply trying getting the hang of 2BB. Main problem seems to be that my blending brush just tends to pick up the paint rather than push it around, but will keep practicing. I'm sure most didn't get it right out of the gate.


Any tips on blending of course would be much appreciated. If worse comes to worse I can always go the layering technique described in the LTPK Bones 2 kit. Its not perfect either, but might make for a better look over all. 


As always, thanks for looking and for any suggestions.

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Alright, so I got some great advice from @Ghool to help with the blending issue, and it seems to be working. As you can see here, I'm still not great at blending by any means, but it looks a lot better, especially when not magnified by a camera, etc.




Need to touch up the right sleeve a bit, but I'm getting pretty happy with this guy, especially considering I've only gotten about a half hour before work each of the last two days to work on him. After that, a bit of lining (a bit scary since I'm not at all good at keeping my brush steady when lining, but gotta keep practicing) and some shading/highlighting on the snout and tail and I should be in pretty good shape . . . until I see the other mistakes anyway. :p 


Right now, biggest hurdle is likely to be time as I try to fit this all into my schedule without Mrs. Gargs seeing what's going on. 


As always, comments, suggestions, critiques, criticisms, etc. are more than welcome!





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Slow and steady. Got a chance to get a little more work done. Mostly done with the first mouse, though forgot to snap a pic. Off to a decent start on the duo as well. Think I have their fur pretty good at the moment. Was going for closer to white for the top mouse and brown for the bottom guy. Still need to work on the bottom one a bit as it just doesn't feel right yet. I'm particularly having issues with his eyes (which are squinting shut). Having a real hard time getting the detail out on those. Any suggestions? I had to restart his coat too because the first attempt just didn't look right with the highlights. So I've painted over it with Carnage Red and luckily the layer was thin enough some of the shade is still showing through. Going to add more of course and then try the highlight again, but off to a better start I think.


As for the top guy, any thoughts on his fur? Started with a base of leather white then did a wash of Stone Grey and a series of dry brushing all the way up to P3 Morrow White for the last highlight. Obviously some of the areas are still pretty grey but I think that might work based on shadows, etc.?  If not, any suggestions? As always, any feedback (both positive and negative) would be greatly appreciated.






As always, thanks for looking and any feedback!



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Ran into a major roadblock. Namely massive shoulder pain/spasms that are preventing me from doing much of anything at the moment, much less paint. That said, I can still plan -- even if I may miss the goal of Christmas. So to that end, I have started to think about the base. What I am thinking at the moment is to put the little critters on the edge of a frozen pond/lake. Mainly wanted something more than just a wide blanket of snow (especially since I had to go up to a 3 inch base to comfortably fit them all on).


So my question is: Has anyone ever done something like this and how do you handle the transition from frozen lake to shore in terms of sculpting/green stuff/etc. I have a decent handle on how to do the frozen water, using pretty much just PVA glue and then paint. But the issue is keeping the glue from spreading over the rest of the base. When I've done it before, I simply put a piece of cork to represent a large rock/outcropping on the edge of the water, but that doesn't really seem to fit with the theme of this mini -- Why would they build a snowman on a rock? Would making a sort of slope out of GS work to keep the glue in place? Seems like it might, but curious as to what others have done.


As always, thanks in advance for any help or advice!



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Excellent news! My shoulder is finally bearable and I have been able to get back into painting! Bad news of course is that I completely missed the Christmas goal, which is annoying, but couldn't be helped. With that, I have made some progress this weekend and starting to enjoy the results a bit:






I'm trying my hand at layering on the coats (and will on the orange hat as well). It was something that didn't exactly click completely with me when I did the Bones LTPK on it, but it has a little more after seeing a video on it. Essentially I wasn't doing enough layers before, leaving way too much contrast between the shades/base/highlights. They are not exactly where I want them at the moment, especially when magnified on camera, but they could be worse. I did get a bit of a stray brush going last night while working on the orange hat, but that will be an easy fix. At least I noticed it and called it a night before it got too bad. 


Looking at the blue coat in particular it looks as though I may have made too big a jump toward the end on my layers, so may try to smooth that out some. Hopefully though I can really start to hammer these guys out and move onto the snowman -- who merely got a Glacier Blue wash and now needs to build his whites back up. I'm thinking of finishing the snowman with a final layer of the Sparkling Snow from the Christmas set. Has anyone had any experience with it? Will it give it that nice sparkle I'm hoping for or will it just look . . . weird?


At any rate, any and all comments, criticisms, suggestions, etc., are very much appreciated.


Cheers and Happy New Year!

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Progress! Not easy of late, but some at any rate.


I am now mostly done with the actual minis. Or I should say, done until I, or others, notice something that could be improved! :p


First, here are the snowman and the pair trying to put the hat on him from the front side:




Took it from the side in the hopes that the shadow effect will be visible. I can definitely see adding more highlight to the scarf on the snowman, but I'm always afraid of going too far on a relatively small surface. May try to go a bit more though. Thoughts?


Now from behind:




That mold line on the snowman is killing me. I swear I filed at that thing for close to an hour and no luck. :( Will just play it off as "packing the snow" :p.  For the most part, I like the top hat. Still not sure about the highlights on the top of it (never done a whole lot of black) but I think it could be a lot worse. The front actually came out better than I thought though!


Finally a pic of all three figures side by side:




Looking at it, I might still need a few finishing touches on the top mouse. Seriously, why is it that a mini never feels finished?  :) All in all though, feeling fairly decent about this considering my experience. 


As always though, any thoughts, comments, critiques, suggestions, criticisms, etc. are much appreciated.


Now onto the basing!

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So after a bit of thought, and some time spent on another project, I think I have a bit of an idea for the base. So, here's the start:




Here we have a base coat of P3 Rucksack Tan followed by a wash of P3 Umbral Umber. To be honest, I'm not too worried about how the cork portion looks in the end as I intend for it to be pretty much completely covered, but wanted to at least set a decent foundation. Plus, it gives me practice for future projects.


I hope to get some more done tonight, but progress might be a bit slow in general for a bit given my current work schedule.

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Drybrush of P3 Gun Corps Brown, Rucksack Tan and Jack Bone.




As mentioned in the last post, this will be mostly covered, but I do like the look. Gives me some idea for future stone colors.

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Two murder trials down means I can finally get back to painting! Just a little bit of progress since the last update but hoping to progress some more this week -- hopefully even finishing this week! (fingers crossed)




Base coat on water effects done, hoping to finish up the water tonight or tomorrow if everything works out, then can get on to the home stretch!



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More work done last night, though still catching up on sleep. :p


Ice effect didn't exactly come out how I intended, but it could be worse. Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Critiques?



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