Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Weekly Update - Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 - Very Big News !

I'll get my usual header photo up later - very busy, today!

Two big news items for you to ponder, and then we'll get back to the miniatures and the paint.

First, TRE Games has released their eye-popping 28mm kits for skyships. He's also done a working portcullis for keeping those pesky player-characters out of where they shouldn't be. And, he's gotten all of his wonderful 28mm furniture and accessories up on his website, as well. May I suggest yaking a look?

Secondly, things are a bit hectic here at the workbench because I have a new job. I start two weeks from yesterday, in a job that I am really looking forward to. Big, dangerous, noisy machines; power tools galore; what's not to like?

I'll also be on a daytime schedule, which will give me more time to write and to get out and about. Lots and lots happening, and I'll have more on this later on as the situation develops... :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

On Miniatures - Essay The Second - First Colors Go On!

First color: Testor's Acrylic Model Masters 4707, 'Red Earth',
which is the closest color I can find to match the Floquil
'Samoa' that Phil specified way back when.

Second Color(s): Black for the hair, 'french vanilla' for the kilts,
'Terracotta Brown' for the leather, and Liquitex 'Antique Bronze'
for the lady's armored skirt.

More Second Color(s): More black for the kilts, headdresses,
and shields; Reaper 'Chestnut Brown' for the leather, Ral Partha (!)
'Dark Brown' on the spear shafts; I've gotten ahead of myself and
added more 'Antique Bronze' for the detail on the armor. the inner
surfaces of the shields are Reaper 'Shield Brown'.

Yet More Second Color(s): Liquitex 'Titanium White' for the
robes and headdresses, Liquitex "Pale Orange' for the
(Who's that goddess in the back?)
Our coat of primer now having dried overnight, we're clear to start work. A long time ago, there was a French company called 'Historex', which produced some truly incredible model solders in 54mm. They had a very useful booklet on painting figures, which I think I still have; the important thing in there was the sequence that one slapped the paint on the model.

The idea is to work from the skin out, 'dressing' the figure with paint as one works from the skin to the outer layers of equipment.

So, the first color that went on all of the figures is my usual Testor's Model Masters Acrylic #4707, 'Red Earth'; this paint is the closest color that I can find to match the old and now long-out-of-production Floquil 'Samoa', which Phil first mentioned in his 'Painting Guide' that he published in The Dragon magazine back in 1976 or so. Since all of my figures usually wind up standing in for somebody on Tekumel, I paint everybody in this for their skin tone. As you can see, you don;t have to be really precise; any stray paint will get covered over in the next step.

Second, kilts / tunics, headdresses if any. I also usually do hair at this point, fully expecting to have to touch up the black after I do any collars or necklaces. Hair is usually Liquitex 'Ivory Black', often with a flat black undercoat, as this is a slightly glossy / satin finish and looks more like real hair. Once the basic clothes are done, then it's whatever layer is on top of that; in this case, it's the leather armor for the temple guards.

I also got ahead of myself here, and did their shields and some other stuff; normally, I do all this in the third step, when I do all of the belts, straps, bags, and other accessories. I also put some Liquitex 'Antique Bronze' on the emblems on their armor; again, this would normally one of the last things I would do, but hey - I love these figures!

Should I do a list of paints, both the old ones and what I use these days?

Now, with this set of colors curing, we'll let everybody sit on the workbench for a night, and be back tomorrow after everything dries hard...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

On Miniatures - Essay The First - Basing and Primer

Ten sets of figures from the recent Dark Fable Indiegogo:
The Temple of Set

Still organized by sets; the last time they will be, actually.
Bases by Litko Aero and TRE Games

And now with flat white spray paint as a primer...

Well, here we go. This series of little essays is on how I do my figures; one of my regular readers asked, so...

I'm going to leave aside until later the question of where I get my figures, and why; it's a much more involved subject, so we'll leave it for another (series of!) post(s). This batch are the figures I got from the recent Dark Fable offering, and are:

Top to bottom, left to right:

Reward Figures, including Prophet of Set,
Temple Guards I, Cultists I with Set figure, Cultists I with Cultist figure, Heroes, Temple Guards II,
Cultists III, Female Temple Guards, Serpent Braziers, Consort of Set, Temple Characters, Cultists IV,
Nubian Queen, Nubian King and Followers

These come with plastic slotta-bases, which I do not use; I think they're too tall, and not all of the 'slots' on figures will fit into them. So, out come the sharp side cutters, and off got the slots. Bases for my figures intended for characters are rounds, 25mm for humans, and bases for military types are 25mm square - there are variations to this, for 'wargame figures', but we'll pass over that for now. Bases are laser-cut 3mm thick plywood, and I use hot-melt glue to attach the figures to the bases. I had a few bases with laser-cut slots from an earlier project, so I used these up on this one; I dislike sanding the slots in the plywood to fit some figures, so I usually go with the solid bases and the glue. I also use various brands of 'tacky' glue, used for crafts; I do not use epoxy or anything really permanent, as we run smack dab up against Chirine's First Law Of Miniatures:

"No matter how well you paint the figure, or how much detail you put into it, you will always find someone who can drop it on the floor for you."

So, by using a good but non-permanent adhesive, the base will break off the figure on impact, and the shock will be largely absorbed in the process. Fire up the hot melt gun, and your little warrior or sorcerer will be back in action in a flash.

At the same time I base up the figures, I also do any assembly and gluing on of parts. This is to assure the best possible bond between everything - see the First Law, above. One note on these figures; as supplied, two of the soldiers had shields that looked a little too much like medieval 'heater' shields, so I replaced them with more 'Aegyptian' ones from the parts bins. Otherwise, all of this batch was used 'as is'. I tend to use Walther's 'Goo', a contact adhesive, reinforced by super-glue; this works very well, and I have yet to have anything done this way fall off...

Once everybody is based up, they get put on a sheet of scrap plywood and taken outside to the back yard. I do most of my painting with acrylic paints, so it really helps to have a coat of a good primer on the metal figures to help the paint adhere. I use a flat white enamel spray paint almost all the time; I do use flat enamel black, as well as the usual red and grey enamel primers. Each of these, when used as an undercoat, will make a difference in how the final paint scheme will look; I used the flat black for the silver tubeway car, for example, and I'd use it for metal armor as well. Grey is good for buildings and other objects, and red for items which are supposed to be made out of wood or leather - experimentation is the order of the day, as you will have to be the one who chooses how you want your figures to look.

So, it's out to the back yard, as it's summer and the weather was perfect - warm, low humidity, and a slight breeze to keep the fumes and paint out of my face. I put the figures on a bit os scrap plywood, about 18" on a side to make it easy to handle, and I put the figures in staggered rows so that the paint can get to all of them. You want a nice even and light coat - as you can see from the third photo, the miniatures actually look grey as the spray paint went on perfectly. Now, the most important step: let everything sit and dry for twenty-four hours. if you try to slap any acrylic paint on before this, you can get a 'crazed glaze' effect, as the solvents in the spray paint will leach out and cause the acrylics to break up.

So, we'll let everybody dry for a day, and be back tomorrow. I am - for once!!! - stopping and getting photos of the figures as i work on them, so next time around we'll see the first coats of paint on them.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Weekly Update - Wednesday, June 20th, 2016 - Better Late Then Never!

All silvery, with the hatch inked in.
A little 'used, with one owner'; the neat hole above the
hatch is where somebody took a shot at us...

There's been a lot of real-world stuff happening, some good and some not so good, which is why I am so late this week. The tubeway car is done - at least this particular model - and we're going to move on a bit. I may do another tubeway car, 'newer' looking, but right now I'm thinking about a station to go with the new underworld tiles...

I've been asked by a regular reader about how I paint figures, and I'll be starting a series of essays on this subject as the week continues. What I thought I'd do is follow a group of miniatures through the 'commissioning process' from the time they arrive here at the house through to when they appear in a game. I am taking photos as I go - finally!!!! - and I hope you'll find this interesting.

In the meantime, here are the blogs of two friends who have what I think are great approaches to using miniatures in their games:

More to come!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Update to the Weekly Update - Sunday, June 12th, 2016 - It's been a very, very tough day...

I dunno. It's how I feel, tonight.

It has been a much longer and much tougher day then I thought that it would be. I did today's post this morning, before I looked at the news and saw what happened in Orlando.

We've checked in with family and friends, and everybody seems to be safe. We are still waiting to hear from all of the friends of friends, and this is not going as well as I'd like to hope.

I don't have any brilliant words about this atrocity. There will be a lot of them splashed around for a while, and I don't know if I can add anything that would be meaningful, helpful, or even useful. If I do, I'll see if I can articulate how I feel.

Got out to Pete's visitation, this afternoon, and talked about him and his influence on gaming and on me for something like three hours. Dave Wesely kept egging me on, with "Hey - remember the time..." and I'd be off again telling people how much Pete set the tone and conduct of our gaming. Turned out that I was being the storyteller for his family and friends, which was a startling thing for me; all I thought was telling what I knew of a very smart, very talented, and very funny guy. Grandchildren, nieces, and nephews' we all laughed, had a pretty good time, and remembered a man who shaped out hobby.

Lux Aeterna.