Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Tardy TARDIS, the 11th Doctor, and His Amazing Swappable Heads

So I finally put the kibosh on continuing to fiddle with this Doctor Who. I bought all of the materials last summer, in an ill-fated attempt to have it finished to send as a gift by November.

Shyeah. I should have known better. November rolls around and what was intended as a birthday present instead magically becomes a Christmas gift.

Or it would have, had I finished it by then. I didn't. And not by New Year's, or even Easter. Only now have I washed my hands of this pesky time lord. I would appreciate it if Gallifrey could reimburse me temporally, now that I think of it.

But there are a few cool features with this project. First, the Doctor model itself is from Crooked Dice, and they also sell a set of alternate heads: one with a fez, one with a stetson, and one with a beard. In other words, you could make the Doctor's appearance specific to any of a number of story arcs.

But I didn't want to choose -- that's lame! So I ordered a second Doctor mini, and the alternate heads. I then cut some metal posts from a couple of clevis pins from the hardware store, snipped off the original Doctor head, drilled into the neck, and sank some magnets into the body. I used the second Doctor mini to get a pristine version of the original head.

From there I drilled into the heads from the bottom of the neck up, and mounted posts in them. With a bit of fiddling, I made the Doctor much more versatile. 

The TARDIS was actually more frustrating. That's because nobody makes a police call box that is both A) accurate and proportionally appropriate, and B) cast well. The best I could come up with is the Ainsty Casting "Constabulary Communication Cabinet," and that arrived looking like a piece of resin slag: leaning and out of true. I had to add some plastic framing trim around the "POLICE BOX" marquee, to match the 11th Doctor's box. I also chopped off the crappy miscast fresnel lantern on top and made one from scratch using styrene rod, brass wire, and greenstuff.

I created custom decals for the TARDIS: the "PULL TO OPEN" and St. John's Ambulance signs, as well as all of the "POLICE BOX" signs. I tried taking the 600 dpi .pdfs to Kinko's to print, but they only printed them at 300 dpi. I ended up buying inkjet decal paper and doing it myself. I learned a lot.

Anyhoo, better late than not at all. Maybe only slightly better, but slightly better is better than, er, no better. Here he is:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Last Night on Earth Zombies: Slapdash Board Game Painting

Subject line pretty much says it all. I got this great game for my birthday in July (okay, I pretty much demanded it), and have been puttering my way through throwing paint on zombies. It's been fun to let go and, well, not care how great it looks. It's a refreshing change from nitpicking over every detail. These are zombies, after all. They've let themselves go.

First, the zombie pimps:

Then the zombirellas:

The 90's zombie slackers:

And the whole crew:

I had a blast goofing around with these guys and gals. Next up: the hero figures.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ultramarines Tactical Squad - WIP

Been working on these guys for a while, trying to get a system together that allows me to paint troops quickly enough to actually learn to play a game before it goes out of print. Thankfully now that GW has just released Warhammer 40k 6th Edition, I do have a little breathing room. A little.

Anyway, these are as much tests of a lens I'm using on my iPhone (the Olloclip's macro lens) as they are updates on the state of my models. I actually do have the entire 10-man squad basecoated, layered, highlighted etc., and am now about to start working on details: gold, metal, eyes, and then some battle damage and weathering. Taking more than a few cues from my buddy Bill French, whose Imperial Fists are beautiful to behold.

So, two quick pics of WIP and a purity seal.

Also, the Veteran Sarge's tabard will be taken back to Beauty Base Zero and redone. That Ultima symbol was hastily slapped on there, as I was trying in vain to finish these for a Brotherhood of the Brush competition.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chicagoland Painters: Mathieu Fontaine Masterclass Sessions April 28-29, May 5-6

Hello Fellow Chicagoland painters and gamers,

Just wanted to let you here know that Games Plus is hosting the return of Mathieu Fontaine to Chicago to put on his Masterclass painting workshops. Each of them is a full two-day experience, and from personal experience I can tell you it changed the way I paint.

Anyway, here are the deets. If you are interested in signing up, email me at blakbuzzrd@gmail.com.

Dates and times:
Masterclass I
Saturday, April 28: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Sunday, April 29: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Masterclass II
Saturday, May 5: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Sunday, May 6: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Masterclass I Course Description
Masterclass I is an two-day intensive class on painting figurines. Every technique and theoretical concept is covered, from the undercoat to perfect blending, passing by zenithal lighting along the way.

The provided figurine will allow every student to have plenty of time to explore the principal areas of painting: clothing, skin, the face and use of metallics. In terms of theory, zenithal lighting, composition, color theory and base conception will be explored, giving every student a complete understanding of the theoretical concepts so as to maximize the impact of his or her miniature.

This Masterclass is open to every level of painter. Whether you are holding a brush for the first time or have painted hundreds of models for your armies, you will benefit from this class. While each student receives the same technical and theoretical information, Mathieu's follow-up is one-on-one and totally personalized. Every student will be pushed to the limit of his or her abilities in order to make sure that he or she gets the maximum benefit out of this experience. So regardless of whether you are an army painter who wants better results on your favorite models or a painter who dreams of winning a Golden Demon, this class is for you.

Materials required for MCI:
Although some materials will be provided, it wouldn't hurt to bring your brushes, any paints you absolutely must have (we'll try to provide the paints as much as possible) and any lamps or optical equipment you use.

Masterclass II Course Description
Masterclass II is for any moderately experienced miniature painter who wants to reach another level and discover vehicle painting techniques. We will approach various military modeling techniques, push blending to another level, explore airbrushing both for vehicles and figurines, play with unusual products such as oil paints and weathering pigments, and experiment with base building and painting.

Materials required for MCII:
You’ll need to bring your brushes, any paints you absolutely must have (we'll try to provide the paints as much as possible) and any lamps or optical equipment you use. The oil paints and pigments will be provided for you as well as the usual basic wet palette prep supplies (plates, cups and parchment paper).

Note: The airbrushing segment of this class comprises a demonstration of techniques by Mathieu. No need to bring your own equipment for this, as it is strictly demonstration.

It's $100 tuition for either Masterclass I or Masterclass II (covers mini, instruction, a Raphael 8404 brush, paint, and basic prep supplies). Or, you can pay $185 to sign up for both Masterclasses. Hey, save fifteen bucks!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Announcing Masterclass I and II in Chicago! April 28-29 and May 5-6

Mathieu Fontaine returns to Chicago for Adepticon, and he's sticking around for the following two weekends to teach his Masterclass sessions I and II. Check it out!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Measure of a Painting Day: GW Dark Elf Sorceress

I've been asked a few times how long it takes me to paint something in hours, once I set my mind to it and allow myself no dithering. So I gave myself a challenge on Sunday: how much of a reasonably detailed mini could I get painted in a day?

For my little test I chose the GW Dark Elf Supreme Sorceress, which is a fun piece to paint, what with all the hair, skin, and muscle tone to deal with. I wanted particularly to see how much of Mathieu's lessons on the human form as a structure of spheres would serve me. Turns out I was able to use it a lot to handle the elf's belly and her outstretched arm. 

At the starting line:

At one hour (model cleaned and assembled, ready for priming):

At two hours (primed and basecoat underway):

At three hours (mostly basecoated):

At five hours (basecoated, eyes and face, and miscellaneous initial detail work):

At eight hours (base is basecoated, blacklining around her gold bits and some detail to her tiara -- this is where I stopped for the day):

I could get faster, I suppose, but I find that I enjoy the sculpts so much that I want to take my time trying to bring them into vivid reality to the best of my ability.

And I just have more fun that way. So there.

Masterclass II with Mathieu Fontaine!

Coming November 12-13 to Games Plus in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. Woot!