I’ve been on a tear recently, painting a number of models in quick succession. I started out trying to catch my Cryx army up this year to fully painted, and I’m well on my way.

The list started out this year like this

Asphyxious III
Vociferon
Deneghra I
Erebus
Scavenger
Plastic Slayer Omnijack
Plastic Crab Omnijack
Revenant Crew Riflemen x3
Iron Lich Overseer
Bane Thrall UA
Bane Knights x10

I’ve now managed to Burn it down a bit

Asphyxious III
Vociferon
Deneghra I
Erebus
Scavenger
Plastic Slayer Omnijack
Plastic Crab Omnijack
Revenant Crew Riflemen x3
Iron Lich Overseer
Bane Thrall UA
Bane Knights x10

and while I’ve been painting It got me thinking about a number of things regarding painting itself that I really wished I’d have known back when I started that really, really helped me be a better painter. Some of these are going to come out of left field, but some of them should be helpful.

Lets start at the beginning, shall we.

Brushes! Everyone uses them, and the many people know what brushes the highest level painters use.
Ghool reviews them Here.

raphael-8404

But why use a good brush to begin with? I didn’t use one until I painted the Kraken two years ago, and only then because I had a specific purpose. First, because almost every synthetic brush will curl. This creates a huge problem when trying to be accurate while painting. Its very hard to stick to raised edges, hit eyes, and put on accurate highlights with a curved brush. I used to think it was a moderately helpful defect, but once I grabbed a Natural Hair brush, I was sold.
Additionally, most synthetic brushes you can get cheaply are water repellent, which means that the paint goes on the brush instead of in the brush. This results in a synthetic brush drying up quicker, as the water is exposed to the air instead of encapsulated in the brush. It also results in almost no control over the paint itself, as the water tension will work to release all the paint at once as soon as the brush touches the model. This adds into the first aspect, as you’ll tend to use less paint in the brush each time you go back to the paint. This in turn will result in a less smooth model as you constantly have to run back to the palette to get more paint. Additionally, synthetics tend to fray insanely fast, busting out in every direction as soon as you look at them. In a year and a half of constant use, I’ve had three individual hairs fray on my two natural brushes.
Finally, and this one applies only if you’re trying it, they don’t wet blend. I tried almost every brush with every tactic I had in order to get the wet blend to work on my Kraken, until Meg Maples told me to get actual, real, brushes. Lo and behold, it solved the problem.

Now, I always thought that the brushes were expensive, and they are, but they also last a lot longer, and perform better than most synthetics. I recommend Dick Blick for all you’re brush needs. I ordered mine a few days back, and they arrived 4 days before the expected delivery date!

Connected to the paint, is the palette. regardless of whether you use wet or dry, its extremely important that you paint with watered down paint. When I was trying to figure it out, the term they were trying to use was “consistency of whole milk” whatever that meant.  I don’t know a really good way to say it, but the right watered down consistency feels correct on the brush, its not runny, and applies right where you want it, without needing pressure. If its too runny, add more paint. If its too hard to apply, add more water. Its not a science, yet, but you eventually get used to it.

wet palette

Along these lines lies the scrubby brush, which is something that Meg Maples told me about. Its simply an old brush purposed to fix mistakes while painting. I’ll let Meg’s article explain. In all seriousness, this thing has saved more projects and more time than I could have ever expected!

Once you’ve gotten a set of brushes, I usually go with a 1 and a 2, the palette and scrubby brush ready to go, Its time to get to actual model work. I am a firm believer that the right primer makes for the best model possible, and after trying a number of different ones, I’ve settled on the best. Dupli-Color Sandable Automotive Primer. Its amazing, is thin, and sticks like hell to the models. Without a clear coat, I’ve only had one chip on all the models I’ve painted with it so far, and that is on Gorman Di Sea Wulfe’s stiletto, a pointy and vulnerable part.

Lastly, before we even start painting, there are methods to holding your model so your oily, nasty skin doesn’t rub off the primer. I used to just try and hold the model, but that gets very nasty, very fast. Your hand can cramp right up, and your fingers tend to rub the primer off of places that you hold often: Head, weapons, etc. We’ve all seen pinning to a dowel, and that works for some, but what I really like it an old spray point lid. I’ll put double sided tape on the top, and just slap my model on it to paint. The hand has a lot more area to grip and I’ve painted models as large as Karchev this way, including tipping him upside-down to get some underparts. I will say that you can re-use the tape, but every part exposed to the air tends to get less and less sticky over time.

While this method is good, I can’t say that it works for large units or multiple models. What I have seen recently is an ingenious idea I have blatantly stolen. I saw a whole unit of Gunmages sticky-tacked to the top of the old GW paint bottles. The Hexagonal ones. just load up on the sticky tack and press them in. Voila, small based models ready to go!

The very last thing I’d like to point out is food and drink. Many people suffer from unstable or shaky hands, and this can partially be alleviated in some form by a few small steps. First, paint on a full stomach. Being hungry and low on sugar can cause your hands to shake, and it can be extremely distracting. Avoid high doses of caffeine while painting. I know its good for an up all nighter right before a con, but its a stimulant, and that can really exacerbate the shaking.  lastly, if your the type to partake in adult beverages, have a cocktail or beer while painting. Alcohol is a depressant, and it can really slow down the blood and quell the shaking. And, who doesn’t want to have a white Russian while painting Khador? I mean, really!

Next time out, probably next Thursday, I’ll be talking very basic color theory. Even just these little points have helped me immensely with difficult to shade and highlight colors.

I’ve been playing D&D for nearly 18 years now, and I’ve enjoyed all but a few times I’ve sat down to a table with my friends. I enjoy getting together with friends, shooting the shit, and playing monsters and heroes. I’ve been DMing for almost that entire time, and I’ve run my fair share of adventures, from years long campaigns to 15 hour one shot adventures. I’ve found different ways to turn tropes on their heads and I’ve built a huge mythology in my mind and in the players games that have affected the world I created.

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One the final playtest of the Malifaux Wave 2 beta finished up, we got the final cards, and now, we are a week into the Avatar beta test.

This is a make or break period, I think, for Wyrd. These Avatars are models that people have purchased and put a lot of effort into, or that languished on the shelves because no one wanted them. They now, with this test, have the chance to bring all the Avatars into line and create a fun, cinematic experience that everyone will enjoy.

The small amount of discussion I’ve had here indicated that they are not as on target as I would hope. After two full beta tests, I expected a better initial delivery. There have been some obvious oversights that I would have expected them to catch.

Maybe I am being to harsh on them. I don’t run play tests, and I don’t generally try and break a game. Instead, I like the game to conform to my idea of balance within a game. That is something that’s actually really hard to do, and I understand that from the get-go, but I think that as gamers, we think ourselves a smart bunch and expect the game designers to be of the same cloth.

When Crazy interactions pop up, It gives me little hope that the game designers are paying attention. Lucas McCabe can somehow get 15 actions in a single activation. Then there is the Sacrifical Manifestation issue with Outcasts. Maybe its supposed to be a no-cost manifestation on turn 1, but it seems wonky.

My three avatars are pretty tame in my first glance at them. I’m probably missing something, honestly. Malifaux, or any game really, is one that I have a hard time managing to see things before they are on the board. Its taken a very long time for me to become comfortable with Cryx in the method I am.

I look forward to picking up Perditas Avatar one day, and trying her out. Lucas I have mixed feelings on, and I just have to try and figure him out overall. McMourning, however, I have high hopes for. His Guild Avatar is pretty cool, with some 6 actions a turn, and the ability to fly around the board with Scalpel Slingin’. I really wish I knew what cool guild models would make him hum, but I am so bad at building crews I just don’t have the closest clue.

Lastly, I’ve been doing a lot of painting lately, and that’s got a neat little concept of a Model Spotlight post brewing in my head. I can always just post pictures of my painted models, but It might be nice to take a post to lay out what I want to get from the model, along with why I painted it the way I did and my general thoughts about the model. Should be fun times!

OK. Wait a minute here.
I have to come clean: I’d only seen images of Perditas avatar on cover art and what have you. I’d never actually seen the damned thing until I went to grab some pics for the article.
That thing is fantastic! I now have a very vested interest in getting and playing that model as soon as my poor self can do it! Man! I’d just assumed that there would be stumpy wings and a lame looking face. Instead I get a really fantastic model. Painted here by Viruk of Independent Painters.

Perdita by Viruk

 

 

 

Its been quite some time since I’ve painted a model for me to use, I do believe. I remember painting up Jerek of Jhord for the IKRPG game, but I can’t think of anything in my warmachine or hordes or Malifaux models that I’ve painted for me. Instead, I spent the last year Painting models for my Gator Exchange. I paint something for them, They paint something for me. It was cool, but It didn’t really motivate me to paint a ton. I do have some outstanding ones yet, but I’m working on it. One day I’ll have an Internationally painted army. While it was great, I wouldn’t really do it again, I have to work on my own stuff!

I’ve painted: a Gallant that went to Ireland

A Magister and Artificer that went to Iowa

A Totem Hunter that went to Utah

A Vassal to Georgia

Karchev and a hrullg to Massachusetts

Seige to texas

Blood of Martyrs to Maryland

and Anyssa Rusaal to Utah.

(not pictured) A Dougal McNaille to both Kamloomps BC and Tennessee, Rhadiem to Colorado, and a Helldiver to Iceland

I also participated in a generic Excange, and painted a model for someone else in payment:

Reclaimer, for a recent Exchange

Sylas, in payment for Siege above.

and finally, I started and finished my PG Gorman di “Sea” Wulfe:

 

So, with the first model I’ve painted for myself in just about a year, I’m ready to get rocking and rolling again. and I am really, really jacked to get  back into my Cryx and finish the models that I have left: Crabjack-Chassis, Scavenger, Asphyxious the Hellbringer and Vociferon, Revenenat Pirate Crew Riflemen x3, Erebus and Iron Lich Overseer. I also have some duplicates as well: Scavenger Helldiver, Deathrippers x2, Slayer, Warwitch Denegra and a Necrotech. We will see how all of that pans out in the year to come. I’m just really looking forward to painting some models for myself, and not for others!

 

 

Reaper is at it again.

Their bones miniatures, which are really good, are back on Kickstarter. This brings me both joy and sadness. I like the idea of getting some more models, but do the really need another Kickstarter?

I like the concept of Kickstarter. It is a unique way of getting direct to user funding, breaking the traditional model of investment funding. Why should any concept be tied to the stodgy tried and true concepts others have tried? Investors are notoriously closefisted with their money and generally unwilling to jump for new ideas. I like that it gets novel ideas into a marketplace that has the ability to bring creators and individual funders together. Direct funding is really inspiring and I think its use for expanding the genres that a tenured company can venture into, reaching sideways, can be a boon. I even think its really great for companies going to novel production methods that test the tried and true bedrock.

There are some exceptions, though. I’m not fond of big companies plumbing Kickstarter for their basic tenants. Certainly, if other funding avenues are not available, then I’m OK with it. But I really object to seeing large name companies pitching the same type of product they would have been able to sell normally to Kickstarter. I’m also opposed to something I’ve seen come more and more: rapid-fire Kickstarters. I don’t think Kickstarter should be used a your basic business model and before putting another project up, you should definitely deliver on the first.

So, its with mixed feelings that I have signed up for Bones II. I have backed the original Bones Kickstarter, Warmachine: Tactics, Wild West Exodus, and Relic Knights, and I have had different results from each one. Relic Knights is still not at my door, Wild West Exodus is currently on the block to be sold, and Warmachine: Tactics has just finished up. Bones did me right, though. It delivered my products a little late, but they were all in there. A Kickstarter success, my first!

So when I heard the about Bones II, I was excited. The bones models I got were fantastic if a little bendy but the value was enormous, and I felt that I was helping Reaper achieve what it couldn’t do without my help: make the bones line a success quickly. It would be a kickstart to their bones line allowing them to get deeper into production. but then they put up Bones II, and the more I thought about it, this second incarnation had me more than a little torn. while there are some fantastic sculpts that are coming to the bones line, I feel that going back to Kickstarter is a little disingenuous. Isn’t this what we did for you the first time? Weren’t you supposed to move forward with your line once we got you… Kickstarted?

I’ve pledged in, but only to see what type of models they’ll release, and maybe get some extras. The real hook for me the first go round was the piles of giants I could get. Oh, and that I would never need another hero model again. 240 some models for $100 was pretty phenomenal. This next one, with about 14 days left, is sitting around 135 models. Its just not as thrilling. The addons are pretty neat, but only in a conceptual manner. The hill giants are really the only ones I have a powerful desire for.

We will see how it all pans out, but I am really hoping that they get a little more strength before the end so that I can feel good about my money going to them. Its going to need a lot more than a few cool models this time.

On Sunday, I made a trade with a friend. This trade was probably much better for him than it was for me. I am now in the possession of a box of bane knights. Unpainted, unassembled bane knights.

What did I trade for this marvelous prize, you ask? What could I have given away for this particular wonder? How about painted, assembled bane knights?

That’s right. I have a problem.

I’ve done this a few times so far, and I’m really hoping that this time it will be just as good as the other two.

Last time I painted these models, I got about 2/3 the way through and just burned out. they are hard to assemble, they are full of detail, and they are pointing and sticking in every direction. They were hard to store, they were bending every way, and while I was painting them I was just burning out. I finished them, as best I could, and then called it a day. 4 years later, I’m ready to try again, I hope. I’ve got an idea of what I want to do with them, and I have a better grasp on color theory (Thanks, Meg!) and I think I can do magnitudes better to them. The pure bronze scheme I had for them just didn’t work at all. The black and bronze I used for the bane thralls works really well. Those same mentioned bane thralls were one of my units I got again and painted up a second time and the first go round was good, but the second is something I am really proud of.
I’m really hoping that this time I can assemble them in a manner that is easier to store, and I can paint them without burning out. Its along shot hope, but I’ve got it.

I’ll keep updating this as the project continues, but with the massive amount I am playing of Heroes 6, it might be a while. I’ll take pictures along the way, as well, and you can see where they stand.

The box of Pewter that will eventually be 10 banes

The box of Pewter that will eventually be 10 banes

Look at these bent lances, from the box!

Look at these bent lances, from the box!

after about 20 minutes of unbending

after about 20 minutes of unbending