Sunday 30 September 2012

A blast from the past - Sculpting my own models

I’ve previously mentioned a period when I wasn’t painting minis but in truth there’s rarely been a time when my hobby activity wasn’t related to mini painting in one way or another. I want to showcase some of the work I produced in this period as although it was produced during a time when I moved away from mini painting it ultimately led me back to the hobby with a renewed enthusiasm. 

Most relevant to this blog was the time I spent making Dr Who action figure customs. This was something that my mini painting experience equipped me for particularly well and it didn’t take too long for me to shift from customising to sculpting from scratch. It’s through sculpting that I became aware of the many online hobby communities and blogs that are out there. As a direct result I reconnected with the wider on-line mini painting community and started this very blog.

My sculpts were very much made as action figures hence the neutral poses and rather basic paint jobs. I started sculpting with green stuff as it was familiar to me it and It’s the only epoxy putty I’m not highly allergic to! Once I began trying to sculpt an entire figure from scratch I made the shift to Super Sculpey Firm and found myself on a very steep learning curve. 

Scratch built Dr Who action figure sculpts

My focus when sculpting these figures was on developing my technique and trying to capture a likeness (with varying results!). I then decided to try sculpting a couple of busts and found these far more creatively rewarding. I brought an element of design to these that I’d purposefully avoided with the figures. Painting the busts was also a more rewarding experience. I began to call once more on my mini painting experience in an attempt to create something more fully realised than the paint jobs on the action figure sculpts. Both of the busts I produced are my own re-imagined designs of classic Dr Who monsters.

Scratch built Silurian bust
Scratch built Sea Devil bust

It was just after finishing the Sea Devil bust that a fellow member on a Dr Who fan forum made me aware of the then newly released mini of the 11th Doctor sculpted by Steve Buddle. You can see where that led me by going to the start of this blog - my hobby interests had come full circle.

Monday 24 September 2012

Mummy Mania - Painting the Tomb King part 6

Over the last few weeks I've been fitting in a bit of mini painting time whenever I can and seeing how much I can do. Not a lot as it turns out!

This weekend I took a more focused approach and set myself a target. I decided to concentrate on painting the Tomb King's weapon to see if I could get it finished. In total I managed about ten hours painting time and as it's turned out the weapon isn't finished but that's only because I've decided to go back and rework the blade.

I really dislike the orange areas of the blade so I've decided to regard them as underpainting. They are far too bright and look crude and ugly! I will be knocking them right back by creating a darker overall look for the blade with some washes and glazing. For the most part I'll be using a mix of GW scorched brown and Vallejo dark sea blue. I'm hoping for a more sinister and nuanced feel to the colours on the blade.

I've just spent some more time painting the blade this evening and I'm feeling much happier about how its looking.

To help me get familiar with my new camera I've been photographing some of my older minis. I think it can be really useful to go back and take a critical look at your older work. One mini in particular is very relevant and in many ways similar to my current Tomb King Project. It's a Dark Harbinger from Crocodile Games. 

I painted this mini back in 2006 following on from a couple of years where I hadn't painted any minis at all. It one of the last examples of my bright '80s' style of painting but it also shows my first proper attempt at NMM. I didn't realise it at the time but in this respect it shows the turning point when I started to try and update my painting style. 

The main benefit of reapraising older minis isn't to relive the past. By looking back at earlier achievements and failures I'm better able to assess my current status and plan where I want to take my mini painting in the future.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Strife through a lens

In my last post I mentioned that my camera was broken when it fell onto the floor. I've no one to blame but myself as, despite promising myself a tripod, I just kept on propping the camera up on all maner of improvised supports. I often find the process of photography a frustrating business. I've a basic understanding of the theory having studied it MANY years ago at college. To be brutally honest I achieved a pass in the photography module of my HND Graphic Design course for effort rather than results.

Having said all that I've begun to feel happier with both the process of photographing minis and the results I've been getting. There is (always) room for improvement but as I've become familiar with my camera I've developed the confidence to experiment with it. So of course I go and break it!

Well 'it's an ill wind' so I bit the bullet and ordered a new Camera. It's a Cannon Powershot SX240HS (for those who are interested in such things) and It arrived yesterday! I've had a little play with it and I'm VERY happy with the results. I set things up just the same as I would with my old camera but with one big exception. I also ordered a tripod and what a diference it's made to setting up a photo! I need to experiment but for these shots I used my favorite setting of 'AUTO' and my usual set up with my painting lamps. I have to say that I think they came out really well.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Avast Ye Me Hearties

I am now the proud owner of my very own White Dwarf Pirate mini thanks to the Masterminis 100 subscriber giveaway! It was a particularly nice suprise as I've always had a liking for this mini and I think he is going to be a lot of  fun to paint.

Apologies for the picture quality.
My camera lost an argument with a hard floor this weekend,
so I'm forced to rely on my iPod for the moment!

This is my first finecast mini so, having heard all sorts about the quality of finecast, I took him out of the box with some trepidation. I'm pleased to say that on first inspection the casting quality is excellent  although I'm rather shocked at the quantity of sprue and support struts that will need to be trimmed away. 

Go and take a look at Masterminis. If you subscribe you'll stand a chance of winning the next giveaway!

Monday 17 September 2012

Mummy Mania - Painting the Tomb King part 5

A couple of pics to bring the Tomb King up to date. There's nothing too dramatic here I'm just gradually covering up those boring areas of base coat and working up the detail.

Saturday 1 September 2012

Pie Clown - Finished!

The Pie Clown is finished! I've turned this piece around in a week from start to finish - the fastest I've ever painted a mini.
I really liked the idea of having a splash of red as an accent somewhere on him but once all the elements came together I didn't think it was needed as I really like the sepia scheme.