Wednesday, 17 December 2014

"Stop Fighting And Make Nice! Or Iceman Will Make Ice!”

This 28mm “Wizkids” model of Iceman is number 039 from the “Heroclix” Marvel Xplosion range of plastic miniatures and was not only my first submission for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge but also my Bonus Round Cold theme entry.

The model, which is actually 58mm in height, was initially undercoated with “Vallejo” White before I applied a heavy wash of Blue Shade. Because the figure is made of a light shiny blue transparent plastic, which is significantly more brittle than the manufacturer’s usual soft plastic, I actually ended up having to apply several coats of both the White paint and then the Blue Shade before the model was appropriately covered. In addition there was absolutely no give in the plastic whatsoever, so I ended up having to repeatedly superglue his arms back into his sockets as just the weight of my brushing the paint onto the model kept making them ‘pop out’ at the shoulders.
As I wanted to try and capture the deep dark icy blue of the original plastic I made sure that the acrylic wash was rather heavily applied. Once dry I started the hour or so long process of slowly drawing a lightly charged number 10 round “Royal & Langnickel” brush over the sculpts raised surfaces. With some patience, I eventually found that the white paint transferred onto the founding X-Man's detail and also started to become quite powdery as well. As a result every now and then I’d just gently dab the model with the edge of the brush and create a covering of fine soft white dust over the model. Once I was happy that I’d built up enough of these layers on the model, I more heavily charged my brush and applied a final ‘drybrush’ over the entire figure. This thicker wetter paint gave the mutant superhero a brighter white highlight across his sharp icy edges.

To finish off the model I applied a few layers of “Citadel” snow flock to the 40mm base, and around Bobby Drake’s feet. I was tempted to add some additional snow flock to other areas of the model but as this figure’s ultimate fate will be a place on my wargaming table I thought such delicate applications would soon rub off once the miniature was being handled.
I’m continuing to progress the eight “Pulp Figures” which come from Bob Murch’s Boys In Blue miniature packs, despite something of a demotivating disaster yesterday when two of the coppers’ hands promptly dropped off whilst painting them; a disconcerting sight at the best of times. I am not sure if it was a case of not kneading my green stuff well enough or simply using too much so the super-glue didn’t actually attach itself to both the hand and wrist socket. But whatever the reason it certainly resulted in one of those ‘I can’t be bothered with these any more’ moments which I think we all encounter with this hobby from time to time?

Fortunately, having visited a few fellow blogger postings including one from Anne [ she’s clearly working on her “Pulp Figures”, I was back in the mood and set about cleaning up the models, re-attaching a wooden truncheon here and replacing a pistol with a rifle there; the latter being additionally super-glued to the model’s overcoat to provide it with an additional point of contact.
Two of the models (because I luckily don’t need to paint in their eyes) just need the odd bit of silver and brass being ‘picked out’ and washed. Whilst another, inspired by New York City cop Samuel J. Battle, really just needs his face and peaked cap painted as well as his buttons. The rest still need a bit of work to be done if I am to have them all ready for Curt and my Saturday posting window for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge; but I have finished the vintage call box and fire hydrant models which accompanied the American Police Officers, so I’ll at least be able to post something new at the weekend. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

"If You Struggle, You'll Only Bleed."

This 28mm model of Black Manta is by “Wizkids” and comes from their “Heroclix” DC Hypertime range of plastic miniatures and is one of my submissions for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2014. The “DC Comics” supervillain debuted in the September 1967 edition of “Aquaman” and is my favourite archenemy of the King of Atlantis. However having removed the figure from its ‘clicky-base’ some six-seven years ago, I have disappointingly just let it sit on one of my shelves waiting to be painted… until now.

The miniature was reasonably simply to paint following a “Citadel” Abaddon Black” undercoat, as at first I just had to pick out its trident in Boltgun Metal. The three-pronged spear is rather bent and I did consider cutting it away from Black Manta’s leg. But the villain has a nice ribbed pattern running down the sides of his rubber-suit and I just didn’t fancy trying to replicate this with green stuff. In addition, unless I completely cut away the trident’s shaft and replaced it I could not see how I was going to straighten it; additional work I wasn’t prepared to contemplate.

However I did think the model looked rather boring all-black and decided to update the colour-scheme a little bit by painting the bug-eyed helmet, breathing tubes and oxygen tank Boltgun Metal as well. This is far more in line with the ‘modern’ version of the Black Manta. All the metallic areas were then treated to a wash of Nuln Oil before being lightly drybrushed with more Boltgun Metal. His eyes were painted using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Red” and the “Citadel” Shade Carroburg Crimson.
These five 28mm U-Men models are also by “Wizkids” but this time come from their “Heroclix” Marvel Mutant Mayhem range. In the “Marvel Comics” world these villains believe in using mutant body parts to augment their bodies and live in specially designed environment suits to protect them from “an imperfect world.” For my purposes however their scuba-gear makes them the perfect henchmen to accompany Black Manta, or any other aquatic character.

As with Black Manta, their painting scheme was simple as I used just “Citadel” Abaddon Black and Boltgun metal (with a Nuln Oil wash). These miniatures did prove a little trickier to paint than I envisaged however, as it was quite difficult getting the tip of a brush in between all their breathing pipes. I also found myself in something of a dilemma concerning their face masks as "Wizkids" simply paint them with a horrible bright blue wash over the metallic paint used for the rest of their scuba apparatus. As I did not want to replicate that effect I did think about tying them closer to Black Manta by painting the visors with "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. In the end however, as I want to be able to use this models as a variety of henchmen, ranging from underwater goons through to Third Reich saboteurs, I simply applied a thick wash of Nuln Oil across each diving mask.

In addition I did consider doing something ‘special’ with their bases and creating some starfish and shells from green stuff to populate them with. But again, as I want to use my U-Men for a variety of roles, mainly land-based, I’ve gone with my usual “Citadel” (sea) grass flock. However if you want to see what I was thinking about then Finch on his superb blog really does excel at creating aquatic-themed bases:
 These four "Pulp Figures" come from the eight miniature-set Boys In Blue and should form the backbone of a large number of Bob Murch sculpts I'm planning to submit to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Unlike the "West Wind Productions" Victorian British Policemen I've recently been painting, I wanted to give these law enforcement miniatures a distinctly blue coloured uniform, so have been experimenting using a blue undercoat and then applying a black wash before a heavy blue one. I'm really happy with the final result as it means I can box off each figure's gold buttons and silver badge with black, safe in the knowledge that by the time the "Vallejo" Blue Shade wash has dried, the black undercoat will have turned a deep dark shadowy blue. 
The two Gangland Justice packs also come with models of a vintage call box and fire hydrant; the latter of which I've already based on one of my usual 40mm round (objective) bases and finished painting.  

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2014 - WIP - Week Two

I’ve spent most of my free time over the past few days steadily progressing this “Heroclix” plastic miniature of the Black Manta and five “U-Men” models. I quite naively thought that as they’d be predominantly black they’d be a nice easy project for my first Saturday Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge posting.
But I didn’t take into account just how detailed and complicated all the piping was on the scuba-divers breathing apparatus, nor that by painting the “DC Comics” supervillain’s deep-sea diving helmet silver rather than black I’d be wrestling with a couple of mold-lines. Suffice to say however that all the metallic areas have now been completed, washed, drybrushed and the models are now finished; ready for posting on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge blog.
These three models have rather leapt to the front of my painting line having arrived as an unexpected, but very much appreciated, gift from Dick Garrison, who runs the “Rantings From Under The Wargames Table” blog:

Not only did he recently paint his own casts of these models but he actually designed and sculpted them, so I am hoping to have mine finished ready for next week's Saturday Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge posting; along with a few Pulp miniatures, Anne!! My only concern is that I want to paint these miniatures using the same colour scheme as Dick Garrison has, as I thought they worked really well. But he’s picked some of my least favourite to paint pigments, such as orange, gold and to a lesser extent red.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

'Oldhammer' - Albino Skink Champion

This 28mm “Citadel” model of a Skink Champion has taken an awful long time to complete, and despite the Challenge now being well into its second month is actually my first ‘Oldhammer’ submission for “A Tale of Several Gamers”. In addition, although I’ve put an awful lot of time and effort into painting the albino Lizardman, I am not terribly happy with the way his pallid skin colour has finally turned out. Rather than being known as ‘Gluckle The Greedy’, destined for greatness, I fear a more appropriate title would be ‘Gluckle The Grey’.

The model was first undercoated with “Vallejo” White before I started to work my way through the numerous bronze and red cloth bands which adorn his legs and arms. For the metal work I used a combination of Brass and “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade. Whilst for the red I went with “Vallejo” Heavy Red and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson. The skink’s curved sword, snout horn and spear tips were also painted with “Vallejo” Brass. As the Champion wore a small chainmail loincloth I treated that to a coat of “Citadel” Boltgun metal and then a wash of Nuln Oil. The leather work was ‘picked out’ with either “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna or Heavy brown. Both of which were then washed with “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade.

Lastly I picked out his eyes with a tiny dab of “Vallejo" Heavy Ochre. I did consider giving the Lizardman red eyes as per many of the painted models in the 1996 “Games Workshop” edition of the “Warhammer Armies Lizardmen” supplement. But I thought the model had too much red on it already.
The Mark of The Old Ones, otherwise known as white skin, was created by applying a watered down “Citadel” Nuln Oil wash over the “Vallejo” White undercoat and then drybrushing more White over the top. I thought this worked well for the smaller areas of bare flesh as the wash simply pooled in the recesses and left everywhere else stark white. 

However when I came to apply this technique to the largest area, the head, left shoulder, chest and head fin, it simply turned the undercoat a murky grey, and no amount of repainting or drybrushing would bring back the white as it had done on the other areas. 

Having based the model though I have managed to ‘park’ my disappointment and begin painting the rest of my Skink warband with earnest. Most of the bronze work is now done, as is the leatherwork, and I’m currently ‘picking out’ all the pouches which adorn their hips.
In addition I have managed to completely assemble the Cold One Rider and make a little progress on his base and skink rider. This particular model will definitely be finished by the end of the month as it is to be my Mount(s) & Rider(s) Theme submission for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2014 - WIP - Week One

Over the past couple of days I have mainly concentrated on applying a series of white drybrushes to the model I plan to use as my Cold theme submission for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Although in many ways this can be seen as a lazy way of painting, I also find it can be one of the most rewarding techniques for bringing out a miniature’s detail, if you are patient and don’t try and get the ‘job done’ in one application. 

The original “Heroclix” figure was actually a bright translucent (plastic) blue and I was keen to retain that ‘ice cold’ feel for his colour but bring out the frostiness and hard edges Iceman seems to have whenever the X-Man is illustrated in a comic book. To achieve this I have simply been building up the layers, and occasionally dabbing onto the figure’s detail whenever the paint on my brush has become powdery enough. I’ve still a fair few more applications to go yet, but once finished I’ll then draw a rather heavily charged brush across the actual Mutant in order to highlight his hard edges in a brighter white.
Meanwhile I have also started work on the belts for Sergeant Rock and ten soldiers from his Easy Company. These are a little fiddly as the sculpting is actually rather soft in this area on the plastic models, and their rather thick pre-paint has not helped matters either.
Finally I have been preparing (and then having been unable to resist, started painting) my target for next week’s Challenge posting; Aquaman’s arch-nemesis Black Manta and five of his scuba-diving henchmen. I actually based the super-villain when I was posting on my old 2007-2008 blog, and he’s been waiting for a ‘lick of paint’ ever since.

This “Heroclix” figure’s actual (pre) paint scheme is just plain black with a metal (wobbly) trident and large red eyes. However as the majority of his hired muscle will also be predominantly black, and the more recent depictions of Black Manta in "DC Comics" has him wearing a silver helmet and accessories, I plan to ‘pick out’ a lot more of the detail on the miniature with "Citadel" Boltgun Metal.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2014 - WIP - Opening Weekend

I plan to spend this first week of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge pottering away at this excellent “Wizkids” 28mm model of the “DC Comics” 1959 comic book character Sergeant Rock and ten soldiers from his Easy Company. I don’t ordinarily paint in batches of ten, preferring to usually concentrate on two-three miniatures at a session. However one of the things I’ve been told to try and do during this ‘painting marathon’ is still to have fun, and I thought it would certainly be that to have a go at so different a painting method to the one I usually employ.
Having already re-based and undercoated the miniatures green, I’ve so far finished their boots and am steadily progressing doing their trousers. I’m not doing anything fancy, just a block colour and Shade wash. Although Sergeant Rock’s miniature has a bit more detail on it, such as his torn knee, so will take a little bit more effort to finish.
In addition I’ve already got my eye on the first Bonus Round and its Cold theme. As a result I’ve rebased and started work on this excellent Bobby Drake “Heroclix” model. Although the sculpt of Iceman himself is a little small, the figure and his ice slide look great and should be a nice submission once finished. Having undercoated him white I haven’t actually been able to resist ‘moving him along a bit’ and as a result have applied two blue washes all over him already. Rather than simply brush the Shade on though I’ve tried to dab it on with a large brush and create something of a dappling effect, which when drybrushed should give something of an icy feel to the model.The miniature is full of detail except the upper side of the ice slide itself, so it may be once I have finished drybrushing the model I might add some clumps of “Citadel” snow flock to it, just to break up its bareness.
All my completed submissions will be posted each Saturday on the official Analogue Hobbies Challenge blog here:

I still plan to duplicate them here twenty four hours later, but predominantly my own blog's articles will concentrate on ‘Work In Progress’ posts, as well as some of the other completed miniatures I have only previously gotten half-finished during this year.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

"Across The Dead Earth" - WIP - Part Three

I’ve spent the past couple of days beavering away at some more of my 28mm scale wooden Commercial Style Buildings by “Wargame-Model-Mods”. These models are going to help populate the 3x3 table I plan to play “Across The Dead Earth” on. As I want a good mixture of single level structures and single-storey buildings I’ve started to build a small three-walled little ruin, a longer ‘office-like’ construction and another taller assembly but without the buttresses my earlier two creations had.
All are currently being treated to a coat of “Vallejo” Black Lava textured paint. A previous posting as to how I fully paint these buildings can be found here:
I’m also (hopefully) close to finishing the five “West Wind Productions” models I will be using as my State gang. These “Empire Of The Dead” 28mm miniatures are excellent sculpts by Andy Cooper but I sometimes wish he didn’t pay so much attention to their detail. The black and white duty armbands are annoyingly difficult to paint and many a time I’ve wished my police officers weren’t on duty as a result. Still all the black-blue uniforms are finished, as are their truncheons and hands. A couple have even had their faces and custodians finished, so just require some flesh highlights and then the metal on their chains and helmet badges picked out.

‘Queenie’ is also coming along well with all the colours now blocked in on her light machinegun. I’ve just got to properly paint in her white lace-work and grey hair, and then wash these areas with black Shade before giving her a regal stare.