Friday, March 26, 2010

Next Up...

Now that the Great Comic Adventure is done-ish (plans changed, in the interest of celerity I'll be trying to sell the comics in bulk rather than singly), I can get back to painting.

Next on the table? A Blood Bowl team that I had forgotten that I owned.

Where did they come from? I have no idea. I suppose that they must have passed through Musabelle's (the shop briefly mentioned in my last post) on some point during their journey into my hands. So, that would make them roughly as old as dirt. I found them, resting in the foam tray in their box pretty as you please, complete with age-yellowed waterslide decals. The only thing missing was their bases.

I popped over to the local GW and picked up a mixed bag of bases for a few bucks. A little too expensive for teensy plastic discs, but it was a decent assortment and not as much as I was expecting to pay. All told I was pretty happy... until I actually opened the bag and looked at the 25mm bases.

I realize this is picking nits, but when I pay such a relatively astronomical amount for such an infinitesimal bit of plastic, I expect it to be notable only in it's complete and total lack of flaws.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Painting Preventon Partially Prohibits Posting

That mess of pottage, that mesmerizing mass taking up my workspace, is roughly 2,500 comics from the early 1990's. My father and I bought them all (and roughly 1,000 more) in 1999 for $250 from a local shop that was changing ownership (the shop, and it's owner, were a big part of my mis-spent youth, but that's another story).

They have sat in storage almost ever since, getting moved around from location to location by my dad getting mishandled and abused. The idea was initially to sell them at a discount to convenience stores in his (bad) neighborhood... and they were more than happy to take them.

Paying for them, not so much. So the hare-brained idea was abandoned.

Until now.

I have them now, and I'll be re-bagging-and-boarding and trying to sell them off. One by one, or in bulk. Know anyone who needs, oh... 100 copies of Valiant Comics' Secret Weapons Number 1? Or a few dozen copies of X-Force Number 1? Maybe some Lobo: Blazing Chain of Love?

I'll be cataloging them on Comics Price Guide dot com, under the username joegekko. Take a look in the next few days. Maybe I have something you need to finish off your collection. Especially if you need 20 or 30 copies of Turok Dinosaur Hunter.

Anyway. All of this comicing is preventing me from painting, which is a real shame. I bought some new brushes that I'd love to be trying out.

We don't have an artist supply store near where I live, so I have to try to find decent brushes at a craft store down the street. Usually, it's a bust. I don't have very good luck with taklon brushes, out of the 45 or 50 that I've bought, I have 1 that has been consistently useful (a Number 3 that has shaped itself into a very fine blade type point).

The cheapo set above is (supposedly) red sable... although, where the manufacturer found weasels to give up there tail-hair for such a low price, I have no idea.

I really want to try out my new brushes. But comics call. And my girlfriend wants the living room back.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Where Have All the Junior Officers Gone?

If the Lieutenant Varras figure is any indication, they have all been staff officers for far too long to harbor any hope of command.

He looks alright in the preview pic, but if you view the larger pic you can tell that I made a proper fist of his eyes (so, you know, don't view the larger pic). I was initially not gong to do the eyes, and in retrospect, perhaps I shouldn't have. All I can hope for is that adding irises (with a micron pen, natch) will make them look a little more alive.

Dead eyes, Chief. Like a doll's eyes.

Like some horrible pistol-packin' Betsy Wetsy. Clearly, his left side is his good less awful side.

I tried to do some highlighting and shading on this guy. I think it's a good start, especially on his coat. At this point I'm still afraid that I will push the highlights too far past the midtone, so I find myself playing it safe and stopping too soon. I know that to really make it 'pop' I need to get the highlights closer to pure white but I just can't bring myself to jump off the cliff.


But this whole thing raises a question in my mind- What about Space Marine junior officers? I mean, this dude is supposed to be a lieutenant, but there are no junior officers in Codex: Space Marines. It seems like they should be available as a cheap HQ option for low-point games, or something.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lieutenant Varras?

I can't find anything to do with this guy in a Space Marine force, outside of the BfM missions.

So, accordingly, I've decided to pant him smurfish, as close as I can get to the box art. A task made somewhat more difficult by the fact that the model supplied was not the same model used for pictures in the mission books. I've never heard of multiple Lt. Varras models, so perhaps some sort of conversion was used for that?

Speaking of conversions, I saw some fairly good-looking IG Varras conversions while looking for some panting inspiration.

Anyway. Here's what I've got so far...

If anyone is curious how this ties in with my Resolutions, his coat is painted with 3 or 4 layers of highly thinned Plaid Folk Art Brilliant Ultramarine, and his pants are in Plaid Folk Art Medium Gray.

I was really impressed, especially with the gray. The underlying black primer was mostly covered after only 2 very, very thinned down layers.

So I've got this remarkably smooth coverage with this remarkably cheap paint ( 97 cents for 2 OZ, and it's a heavy paste-type paint so it goes REALLLLY far...), and now I have to try to not run it with washes and shading and highlights...

Wish me luck.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mini Resolutions

1- I will thin my paint, and paint using multiple coats rather than glopping it on in one thick sheet.

2- I will not paint directly from the pot. Unless I'm drybrushing. Seriously, how am I supposed to drybrush using thinned paints, anyway? Why not go straight from the pot?

3- I will not buy overpriced hobby paints, and instead use el cheapo craft paint like Plaid's Folk Art line of (ahem) "artist pigments". Well... Except for metallics. And GW Liche Purple. Oh, and maybe some GW Hawk Turquoise, so that I can finally finish those Banshees that have been sitting in a box for years.

4- I will stop priming miniatures with black. At least, as soon as this spray can of black primer is empty. So... 2015-ish? I've had pretty good luck using gesso as a primer coat on metal miniatures, and it's really really cheap.

5- I will paint. And paint. And paint.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More Time than Money

Yesterday, I was sitting around the house waiting on the plumber to fix some things in this place that we just moved into. I found myself looking at those snazzy miniature cases, you know, the ones that swaddle your minis in custom-cut foam and look like something a SpecWar operator would HALO out of a C-130 with and glide behind enemy lines like a silent angel of death?

Yeah... Even if I could afford one of those, I don't think I could justify the expense to myself.

So that got the hamster moving on it's wheel. Not having any way to store or transport minis other than plastic baggies thrown in a box is hardly ideal. I've got all these 'banker's boxes' siting around from the move, I figured that I should do something with them to help me get organized and move things around.

I started by measuring the interior of the box, and cutting a sheet of 1/8" cardboard (from another leftover moving box) that would fit in the bottom. I then cut 2" high pieces for all four sides and glued them down with wood glue edgewise to make the sides of my tray. I used a few more pieces in the middle as row dividers. I used old VHS cassettes to hold everything together to get a good seal.

Goofy, but expedient.

Of course, after gluing everything down I realized that I hadn't measured properly. So, we'll just call this one a proof-of-concept.

Since I'd already blown the 'measure twice, cut once' rule, I just added cross pieces wherever I thought they looked right. The clips are being used as wedges to force the pieces together.

Here's the first tray assembled, leaning up against the banker's box that it barely fits in. I should have cut the bottom piece a leeeetle bit smaller on every side to give myself some wiggle room...

...and that's exactly what I did on this next tray. It's just a wide-open 'catchall' tray for whatever doesn't fit anywhere else. Right now it's housing templates and some unpainted terrain.

Here are some pictures of the whole thing in use-

And here's the box with the lid on.

Alright, so it's not as sexy as some Agent 007 style case. And, yeah, the cardboard might rub some paint off the minis, but let's face it. So will playing with them.

If I hadn't already had the banker's boxes, a box of 12 is about $10. The cardboard used for the trays is just scrap, and you should be able to get scrap boxes from just about any retailer (liquor store, grocery store, etc.) for free.

That's a whole lot of nicely organized, custom mini storage for $10 and some time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New-Old Mines and a New-Old Dishwasher

Okay, so the dishwasher thing is only tangentially related to the spore mines. You can't wash your coffee cups with spore mines, and they aren't Energy Star rated. But, like the dishwasher that the management company just put in my house, these mines have been laying around for a while and are just now being put to use.

Overall I'm happy with how these came out, especially the acid mine. The exploding mine I can take or leave (the 'magma' thing didn't come off quite how I wanted it to but I suspect that it would have worked much better on a larger surface), and the poison mine is just sort of there, not really showing any improvement.

Oh well, better luck with the 'Gants. And the Genestealers. And the Naggaroth Nightmares. And...

Monday, March 8, 2010

One-Hundred Mumble Mumble Points of Awful

I wasn't planning on posting anything today, but Ron over at From the Warp approved my request to be added to the bloglist, so thanks, Ron!

...the Macragge/Cruor Dexter boys are just there so that this wouldn't be a picture-less post.

Next up? Well, I'm still finishing up the ancient Battle for Macragge box set. Since I was 'made redundant', as the Brits would say, just as I was getting back into wargaming, I'll be painting up a lot of old miniatures that I've had sitting around. The BfM stuff, old Chainmail minis (as well as a handful of Grenadier and Ral Partha lead), even the 3rd Ed. Battletech plastics, if I feel really motivated.

Eventually I'd like to get the Assault on Black Reach set and use that to really start my Marine army but... that's really going to have to wait until I get back on my feet.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Constant Improvement Improves Constantly

See, it does get better.

This is an old Grenadier elf, sort-of converted into an almost-Cupid, a very special valentine for my sweetheart.

Okay, so I got laid off and couldn't afford to do anything fancy. That's not the point, though.

The point is that even though it's still not a great paintjob, it's better than what I had done before. So, practice really does make... well, not perfect.

But better. Markedly better.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I don't know if the camera adds ten pounds...

...but it sure adds a whole lot of awful.

Don't get me wrong, this Termagant doesn't look great in person. But it does look considerably better than this.

No, really, I swear.

Anyway. When I paint the rest of his bretheren, I think I'll forgo the heavy drybrushing. I'm happy with the color scheme (inspired by the local heavy-lift aircraft roaches), but the mottled-y-ness of the drybrushing is distracting.

There's got to be a better way to get more convincing results.

Without layering 'Nids.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Incontrovertible Evidence

I thought I'd take a little time today to prove that I am in dire need of more painting practice. Observe, People's Exhibit 1- an extraordinarily poorly painted GW Space Marine...

As you may recognize, this is one of the (ahem) sketchy 'Battle for Macragge' box set Tactical Marines. In defense, there are mitigating circumstances (read that as excuses). I started painting these guys years ago when the box came out, using really awful brushes. The main armor color is GW Liche Purple, which to my knowledge at the time was fairly unique among loyal Chapters.

Then I found out about the Hawk Lords, and decided that they needed something to set them apart. That led to the red right shoulderpads, and the Chapter name... Cruor Dexter, or Bloody Right.

Gory, grimdark, cliched, and Latin.

Perfect. Unlike the paintjob, which has zero highlights. But I figure it passes the 3' test, so it's good enough for now.

The Sergeant from the box fared little better. Illius me paenitet, dux!

Well, I suppose that's it for now. I'm still getting used to Blogger, and this post took me a lot longer to put together than it should have.

By the way, of course I realize that the bases aren't finished. The edges are going to get covered in a dark brown... but I'll probably use el cheapo craft paints for that, and save the good stuff for, you know, ruining more miniatures!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Two-fer Tuesday

Just a real quick notification here-

Apparently, the name 'Ineptus Astartes' is being used by a wargaming group back east for their Yahoo! group. That's what I get for not looking things up.

But... Despite the fact that someone else is using the name, I came up with it on my own (yay me!), so I'm going to keep using it as well.

It's either this, or 'World War Joe'.

10 WRITE "Hello World"

So, I suppose that this is where I'll be documenting, for whatever reason, my slow progression from horrible painter of tabletop wargaming miniatures to, hopefully, a slightly less horrible painter of tabletop miniatures.

Or something.