I've been playing around with Warhammer 40K minis. Not to play 40K. Not to add them into different games. Instead, to test things out. Some might think this is an expensive approach to playing around with (learning? testing?), and I'll admit it's not cheap. The thing is, most mass produced and easily available things that I find fun or interesting to paint aren't cheap. I've got plenty of minis I could use as test fodder, but most of those I lump into "I'd really like to paint that well (some day)" and/or "It's out of print and expensive/impossible to get another if I screw this one up." So, 40K!
I picked up some Space Marines on Motorbikes thinking they would be interesting to practice magnetizing parts. Turns out this was a bad choice, because this kit does not have the classic Space Marine combo of Legs, Torso, 2 Arms, Head that I've grown accustomed to always seeing. This featured more new-fangled seam-hiding parts. Front of legs. Back of legs and back. Right arm and front torso. Well, not exactly that, but an odd enough combo that no magnetization was going to happen. Fair enough, there's other things I want to learn better. Black priming is something I suck at, I'll do that, and then some different things after. Overall drybrushing is a thing that's supposed to help bring out details for later painting steps.
And that's about as far as I got before I got bored. Drybrush highlighting atop black does seem to do a good job of bringing out the subtle highlights. Maybe (before) throw in some zenithal highlights. That's part of the joy of looking at these as "disposable". I can just go back and hit it with some more paint and keep trying things out.
The finished mini today (this month?) is Hassle, from Hasslefree. Somehow with a different head than what's pictured. I don't know if the pics from the site didn't include all the heads, or I picked a head from a different mini and didn't realize. In the end, it all worked out well enough. My new things to try this time were better painting pieces before assembly, so as to get into those nooks and crannies that are impossible once everything is glues together. May last attempt did ok, but once it came time to (super) glue bits together things started to go awry. Bad joint/seams, scratched off paint while fighting with glue, oh I completely forgot to paint that part. Lots of lessons learned that time, which I actually learned from as this go-around I didn't run into any mentionable problems. I felt like I've been skimping on base detail lately, so i went back to putting a little more effort into making the base more than a flat, painted stand.
Not sure what kind of method testing/learning I'll be up to next, but there's a group of Walking Dead minis being prepped for priming.
Following my posting of a small painted batch last time, I continue the trend with 4 minis I didn't take an assembly line method to, but instead focused on 1 at a time.
These are more Hasslefree minis, which I just find fun to paint. I primed these with the Not-BSG minis last time just because they were handy.
This time I continued on focusing on detail work when painting. I'm not sure which brush I picked up, but the point of the tip was working with the questionable steadiness of my hand/squint to see any details. I had particular fun with Grant since his mold has some good details with belts and add-ons. I even noticed his belt buckle was supposed to be a US flag, so I tried (with mixed results) to bring that out.
Rae/Not-BSG-6 was my chance to focus on flesh shading. Boobs are an area where trying shading techniques can be fun, although it can feel a little pervy, too. It's a self contained system of shadow and highlights. For once, I think I nailed it! The right base of light flesh color, then 2 darker layers of shade for the recesses.
On the remaining 2 female minis I tried some more non-Caucasian skin tone methods. While not as good as I would hope, it's better than I've done in the past. I'll count that progress as a win.
On the whole, I'm happy with how this batch turned out. Some of the clothes seem a little more mottled in the pics than when I just look at them. Hopefully this is a side effect of camera lighting and not how things always look.
Despite my lamenting the weather not cooperating with painting, the opportunity presented itself to prime a batch of minis. I grabbed a hand full of Hasslefree Minis and commenced to priming. I then did something different, which was to not try and paint them all. I picked 2 to paint. Not Adama and Tigh from the Not Battlestar Galactica reboot.
Just an aside, but I still think of 2004's BSG as new/recent even though it aired almost 20 years ago. Since that reboot was over 20 years after the original (which I have very fond memories for) my sense of time for this show(s) is just all messed up. Anyway, back to painting.
While I have no BSG game to stick these 2 in, they are the perfect starship commanders for whatever space game comes along. This meant I didn't have to stick with the colors from the show! There was something new I wanted to try - the piping on the uniforms looked perfect to try and detail. As such, gold and silver piping accents became my thing to try.
Thanks to not trying to do too many things at once, along with working at a glacial pace since I was working on 2 minis over the course of a week, I could take my time and concentrate on those little details. Plus, I could clean up mistakes along the way! In the end, it was a good approach as I really like how things turned out.
The weather has been humid. Humid doesn't play well with spray paint, and the only primer I have is spray primer. Lacking a low (for North Alabama) humidity day, I finally thought to see how honest "pre-primed/no priming necessary" minis were. Turns out, they work out well.
Now that I've reached the stage of proper prep before I start painting, washing minis before painting mainly to get rid of release agent from molds or random chemical from production 3D printing is now a standard step. I know it's obvious, but that really helps my paint stick to (pre)primer.
In my available pre-primed inventory I found a pack of Pathfinder Barmaidens and a Reaper Bones Sci-Fi Tess McFadden. For my personal improvement I tried to work on painting within the lines to try and make things more crisp. There was also a little more subtle skin shading going on, but if you didn't know to look for it I don't think it's noticeable. Even looking for it, it may not be noticeable.
While the popular thing to spill is Nuln Oil, I knocked over a pot of blue contrast paint. I think this is the 2nd pot-o-something I've knocked over, which just means I'm a seasoned painter, according to the internet.
Over the last week or two the subject of Gaming and associated meta-hobbies has come up in either conversations or posts I've come across online. Most of these subjects were along the lines of lamenting that there's more prep-work that game playing these days, which is also just part of the nature of the games we're drawn to. I went through this conversationally a few years ago which put me on the hobby-road I'm on now. I like to call it I'm OK With That Road, which is more like a 2 lane road you see heading toward the horizon in the distance.
With that, allow me to share my list of unpainted minis, ie the popular Pile of Shame.
In this list of what I track, I claim to have 3205 minis, of which 709 are painted / 2496 unpainted. That's a lot to paint. A lot of those are included in games I'll likely never play, like the original Zombicide and its butt load of expansions. As such, a few years ago I started a sub-category of Minis I'd Like To Paint, of which I currently have 609 of 1445 painted. With those impressive numbers out of the way, I now get to the root of my approach and acceptance of the popular Pile of Shame.
I don't care about game play or the games the minis are supposed to be for.
I've mentioned before my cyclical decade timeline of gaming interest as far as actual game play. I bought a butt load of games during the peak of that interest. Later on, I looked closer and admitted that I'd gotten games for the majority of popular game mechanics and must-have titles, but I wasn't that interested in playing any of them. Ok. Lesson learned and cut back on buying games enforced.
The thing I enjoy is the toys that come with the games, primarily because it gives me something to do with my hands that gets me away from the computer that I sit in front of a minimum of 8 hrs/day. Gluing, painting, cursing at, accruing supplies. That's my real hobby. Normally I would make plastic models or train layouts, but the diversity of game toys (minis, scenery, whatever you want to call it) is the appeal to me.
My excuse is that I can always use what I paint for a game. Who needs 3205 minis just for that?
So I buy minis that look fun to paint. I buy them and usually add them to the pile/list instead of painting the latest thing I though looked fun. Before writing this, I just bought some more because Miniature Market is running a 10% off sale for the weekend. 1 of the minis I bought has been on my wish list for over a year, and was there in case I needed some padding to get to free shipping. To get the free shipping on the 10 minis that look cool that I'll paint someday because they were 10% off, I bought an extra mini. That mini cost more than what actual shipping would have cost without it, but that's logic best to ignore.
Everyone has their own rules for what's fun and why you may do things a certain way. Just don't let someone else's definition of what you should or shouldn't do - especially something you do for fun - steer you away from having said fun.
Now I really should get back to painting something....
As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).
Tags have been added to posts back to 2005. There may be an occasional old blog that gets added to the tag list, but in reality what could be noteworthy from that far back?
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