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Picture them in your head. Crazy, evil cultists. Secret meetings, twisted plots, midnight masses in service of the unthinkable. Got it? What color are their robes?
I'm about to start painting a group of cultists and I'm having trouble deciding on a color. I don't want the color to be indicative of their allegiance, I want them to be able to stand in for any group of evil cultists.
So I want to put it to the Forumites: What color says, "that's an evil cultist," without having it say, "That's a cultist of (blank)?" What color robes do you wear when you worship your dark Deity of choice? What color looks great, even if it covers 90% of the miniature?
After some interesting plumbing adventures the family and I are out of the house for the next couple weeks while repairs are made. Knowing that I'd need something to do in the evenings I had to make a tough call. I could gather up my painting supplies or I could grab one box, a knife, glue, and clippers. I obviously chose the easier route. So during our little forced vacation I'll be assembling the Robotech RPG Tactics starter box and giving you my thoughts on it. Not that I think anyone particularly wants to hear my thoughts on it, but if I'm going to build all this I'm going to talk about it.
Before we jump into it I do want to mention that if you've ever heard anyone talk about this set I'm probably going to say a lot of the same things. I do however think I bring at least one new idea that somewhat redeems this box or at least changes the way you think about it.
Right off the bat I've got to say it does have a nice box. It's fairly solid and the art not only on the outside but on the inside is a nice little addition.
When I first bought the box it was my intention to build the three configurations of a Veritech and stop. I already have too many projects and this was to be the reward after completing everything else. You better take a look at them before I start ranting.
It was during the build of these first three models that I couldn't help but notice problems, you know the very ones we'd all already been warned about. The instructions are not always clear, all you get for each model is a deconstructed picture that can leave you guessing. Then to make it just a little more fun some components that are shown as being multiple parts just aren't. There is nothing like searching a sprue for a piece needed to complete a part before you realize its already attached.
Then of course when it comes to "fiddly" bits these may be the fiddliest I've ever seen. There are a ton of parts that are tiny to the point of the simple act of removing them from the sprue breaks them. Remember this because we'll definitely be coming back to it.
Even the larger pieces have their problems though. Most of the bigger pieces are multi-piece parts for no real reason. Maybe they're there to lull you into a sense of false comfort right before you start in on the "fiddly" bits.
Now we come to the sprues themselves. They're not exactly horrible minus the times when you break a "fiddly" bit trying to remove it but they're not great.
After only assembling three I really wondered how they'd stand up to use on the tabletop. Even for display pieces they feel fragile. The detail is there but the construction and contact points are just bad, again we'll get back to that.
Confidence was not high after the first three figures. Then came about our impromptu vacation so I pressed on with the assembly and next up were the other Macross defenders, you know the cannon fodder, the Defenders and the Tomahawks.
This is where I hit my stride. Overall I assembled them quickly, with many of the same complaints, but by then I'd become familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the set. It's also where I had the revelation that completely changed my attitude.
You see these aren't miniatures and they really aren't game pieces, they're models. Models complete with all of the "fiddly" bits and needless multi-piece assembly you could expect. Once I started to think of them as models it bacame easier to accept the flaws and oversights. I couldn't exactly forgive or forget them, but at least they made a kind of sense. They're made like a Gundam model where the real accomplishment isn't in building it, it's in the fact that during the assembly you never threw it against the wall.
Armed with my new outlook I started work on the special Zentraedi models. Even with the new outlook there were issues. Here are some "fiddly" bits I broke while removing them from the sprue. See just how tiny some of them are?
Oh and remember those contact points I mentioned?
That's how a leg attaches, a leg, you know the thing that is meant to support the whole model.
Eventually I did complete the three special models however.
After reading all that it would be easy to think I hate this box. It'd be even easier to think I wouldn't recommend it. Even with all the issues however that isn't the case. I think under the right circumstances, I can recommend this to everyone they just have to meet certain criteria.
Firstly you need to be a fan, because you'll need that love of the source material to keep going. The box needs to be on discount (bought mine for about $50 and that seems fair). It also helps to know exactly what you're getting into; before buying I'd already heard plenty of horror stories (still ended up buying it and I'm glad I did). Finally you need to think differently about the figures themselves, honestly once I started thinking of them as models like Gundams or even highly detailed planes everything bacame easier. If you check all of those boxes this is probably right up your alley. Don't ask me about gameplay however I already know I'll never find someone to play with, I just wanted the models.
Hey! So I've been putting paint to minis for about two months, and I've yet to finish one up satisfactorily. So I thought I'd come here and ask y'all for some C&C for a struggling newbie.
The Tiefling is an NPC baddie for my DM, and I'm struggling trying to get more detail on his face. I tried adding highlights to his t-zone to make it less flat but getting detail in such a tiny space is driving me mad. I'm also not happy with the highlights on the tail. How do ppl do faces on minis without much detail to the sculpt?
I've been struggling with transitions and blending/glazing. On the mouseling the transitions are supposed to be glazing but it just comes out more of a wash with a heavy load of pigment where it settles. I've tried wet blending, but I don't know how to get that on smaller or more detailed/textured areas.
I'm a lot happier with my skelly boys, and I'm going to try NMM on the swords. I'm wondering how to reduce the shininess on the varnish (the middle one). I'm using Vallejo matte varnish, but there are still reflections under light.
Thanks so much if you've read down all the way here! I know I've got a long way to go, so I'm looking forward to any and all C&C.
Edit: Cut this down to just the ones I'm not happy with, and need advice on.
By Gary Pryor
In a post Bones IV world there are lot more translucent miniatures in circulation. You may have had the same reaction I had, where I thought they were neat, but had no idea what to do with these things. Well, today was the day I decided I was going to try a few different experiments with painting these things to see what would happen. I did try an experiment once before with some purple translucent modes from bones 3, where I put a black wash over them. I was not happy with those results. They turned out looking opaque black with purple highlights from a distance, and translucent against a light or if you looked real close. Not a strong enough effect for table play. So this time, I did a bunch of research (mostly on this forum) and was told about using a clear coat and ink to add definition and maintain translucency. Looked good in the pictures, so I thought I would try some variations on that.
First thing I wanted to experiment with was testing something I read here that said something to the effect of "the clear coat actually makes them more translucent, because it changes how they reflect light" so I thought I would try a matte clear coat and a gloss clear coat and see how they compared. The following are a very light black ink wash (from the Reaper Ink triad) and then Tamiya X-22 gloss clear (on the left) and Tamiya XF86 gloss matte (on the right).
These models were not very translucent to begin with, but both coats did really make them appear more clear. The gloss was very shiny, had a distinctive wet look, and makes the model look like a clear piece of hard candy. The matte coated model appears to let about the same amount of light through, but is less reflective than it was before I coated with anything. With less reflection the model looks a little less ethereal, but also less like a plastic toy.
I decided that I didn't want wet looking spirits, so I decided to go with a black ink wash and the matte coat. Here are those results:
Much better than my last attempt, which were only transparent when held against a light. They are still reflective, but less than out of the box. I also tried a red ink instead and it had a very striking effect of red against the blue (the colors didn't blend at all like I thought they would) but it wasn't what I was looking for, so I washed it off.
Here is a comparison of a painted and unpainted model:
So really, I would say not painting them at all is totally viable. I like having the details show, but if they are ghosts, maybe it is okay that it is hard to see without taking a very close look.
I also did a matte coat on some crystals (no ink) and it improved the translucency greatly, though it is hard to capture in a photograph.
I learned I prefer that matte coat to clear, (but both are cool). Inks work well, where standard acrylics did not last time. Clear coats do make them more clear. and they transparent models look ghostly and cool already, so painting them isn't giving you that much really, if they are only intended for table play. maybe this information will be useful to someone. I wish I could have found it all in one place when I was puzzling over what to do and what to purchase.
Warnings first, this image is linked for nudity. I would like to ask for advice on this mini. I might be finished or I might have to go back and paint her all over again. I wanted her to look like bare wood, like raw lumber because she is part of the tree. I wanted it to look kind of like she was the inside wood of the tree coming out through the bark but I think she ended up looking a little like regular skin. So my question is does she look okay or should I paint her green instead to keep her from looking human? Thanks for any advice you can offer. Please also be advised, it isn't the best image but it gets the idea across.
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