Sunday, September 8, 2019

Frostgrave treasure tokens!

Our Frostgrave project is moving right along I got a set of treasure chest done yesterday for treasure tokens.  I have had these lying around for a couple of years from the first time I dipped my toe into Frostgrave.  Unfortunately my work schedule didn't allow me a lot of gaming time back then and my group wanted to play D&D so these got boxed.  I have a few other treasure tokens I have been using from D&D dungeon dressings but I wanted a nice set of chest so here they are.  Four of these are from a Mordenheim accessory kit, One is a Reaper Bones chest and treasure pile, the other is an old chest I had from a box of random minis with a book and scroll from the Mordenheim kit.  I really like the size of the smaller chest better but for now the Games Workshop chest will do. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Pictures of my new Frostgrave terrain being used in game.

 The Black Magic Craft inspired walls project has spiraled into a whole new set of terrain for Frostgrave and other fantasy games. 

 We made several simple ruined corner structures that could be assembled into ruined structures.  These are made from cork tiles.  At first we were going to make very basic walls but they ended up looking too simple so we decided to add block structures to the corners which made them look a lot better. 

We made a large number of rubble piles from torn and cut pieces of cork tile.  A lot of these were made from the off cuts and odd pieces from the other projects.  Cork works extremely well for this type of construction.  It takes several types of glue well and it paints very easily.  

We also added some play sand to the rubble piles to give some more texture.  You can see some of the cork showing through on the rubble piles in particular but because it is a natural product it works well.  The warm tones look pretty good and help add some character to the cool grey rubble. 

We've done a lot of building with cork tile in the past but I think this has been one of the more successful projects.  We used tacky glue of the rubble walls and arched wall setions but hot glue on the corner ruins and simple ruined buildings.   

We played this particular game on a 4x4 foot table but I hope to make a 3x3 and 2x2 foot play surface.  I plan to build those surfaces with at least 2 inch sides and add arched details to the sides so I can use them as raised sections of the city on the 4x4 table.  We will also be building staircases out of cork tiles to place alongside the platform sections when they are used in that fashion.

This is just the start of the Frostgrave ruins project for us.  Next we plan to build some of the specific buildings for the scenarios in the core books.  After that we will build some more multi level ruins and some more intact structures.  Eventually we hope to start on terrain for the various scenarios in the supplements.  

Since we have a decent collection of painted Fantasy figures we don't have to worry as much about having miniatures for warbands but we do plan to build some specific warbands in the future.  We also need to address of few of the "Creature" need that we don't have covered but like the warbands we have a pretty good jump of those issues as well.  

My wife and friends and I have been very impressed with Frostgrave and other games by Osprey Games.  The miniature agnostic nature of their games is a great draw for people with a collection like ours.  The potential to bring back figures from dead games is also a major boon.  We've had the game for a couple of years not but we have only played it off and on.  I think after a couple of test games we will be kicking off a campaign and I will be posting more battle reports.  We may even start streaming the games and posting edited game videos on Youtube.  

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Black Magic Craft Ruins Painted.

 I got the Black Magic Craft style modular ruins I made from cork tile painted up.  I've had them painted for about a week now but I kept forgetting to post the results. 

 I based coated them with a Rustoleum Deep Forest Green then I sprayed them down with a medium grey from the top at a 45 degree angle.  This kept the cooler green color in the shadowed areas.  After the medium grey I dry brushed on Apple Barrel Granite Grey for the high lights.
 I'm really happy with the way these turned out.  My wife has finished another set and we hope to have another set and a set of accessory pieces to go along with them. 

Although we are building these walls as part of our Frostgrave ruins set they will be useful for a number of role playing games and table top miniature games.  I have several other projects in progress for our Frostgrave ruins so I will be posting more about those soon.  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Black Magic Craft inspired Modular Ruins.

 I recently moved and when I did I moved into a much smaller home than the one I was living in.  I ended up keeping most of my miniature collection but I gave most of my terrain to my daughter and her boyfriend to use in their D&D games.  As luck would have it I was able to rent some studio space in the town I moved to for an insanely low rate so I decided since I had crafting space and playing space again it was high time to start re-building my terrain collection.

One of the YouTube channels I follow is "Black Magic Craft"  which is an excellent DIY terrain making and gaming channel that details projects with both advanced and beginner techniques.  A while back I saw him do a set of simple ruined walls which he could also use and Dungeon walls and I though it would be a good first project for my new studio.  You can find the Video here: 

 The guy at "Black Magic Crafts" does a lot of his building with XPS foam and a hot wire cutting table.  I don't have this kind of tool but I do have my trusty cork tiles and Xacto knives.  I made my first set of ruins out of one 12x12 inch cork tile.  You can get these for about $7.00 a pack at Walmart here in the U.S. and about $9.00 at Hobby Lobby or Lowles.  I find it to be a good material to work with for numerous projects.  I usually use either hot glue or tacky glue as my primary adhesive for this material.  For this project I choose tacky glue because it allowed me to adjust and even remove sections of the wall as I was building them.

The most tedious part of course was cutting the bricks out of the tile.  I chose to make my bricks 1/4 inch by 1/2 inch.  The tiles are not quite 1/4 inch thick so you need to keep that in mind when laying the brick patterns or it will throw your build off.  

My wife also made a set using similar methods.  Here she is laying the bricks out.  I would say our bricks are around 20% smaller than the foam bricks used in the original project but because the cork already has a natural texture we were able to skip the steps involved in adding texture.  It's also okay if some of your bricks are slightly thicker from side to side than others because they actually improves the texture of the wall.  I felt like this was not exactly a speedy project but I have done much more tedious builds.

I have perhaps 6 hours in this build so far and I feel like I can probably stop once I have used up one package of four tiles.  Our primary interest in making these walls is to get some terrain together for Frostgrave which is usually played on a 3x3 foot table.  We also plan to make some static ruin buildings and other features so we don't need to cover the entire space with these ruins.  I also feel like that will give me enough walls that if I ever want to use them as Dungeon walls I'll have enough for the amount of Dungeon I normally place on the table.

I'm pretty excited to get these painted.  I still need to add a bit of sand texture to the bases and some of the wall areas.  I think I may make three tiles worth of sets like this one then make some interest pieces out of the last tile in the pack.

Based on the amount of time I have in on these I estimate I'll have the build finished in another six hours at most with probably three hours of painting time.  That's a bit of a long build but it will produce a large amount of terrain so I think it will be worth the time investment.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

July Painting with Games Workshop Contrast Paints and Reaper Miniatures.

I finally accomplished one of those hobby goals that every painter swears they are going to start doing.  I finally finished a batch of miniatures I ordered before making my next order.  I got this order of Reaper Miniatures at the end of June and I just finished painting them before the end of July which was my goal.  It's only 17 miniatures but that's pretty good with my schedule. 

I used the new Games Workshop contrast paints over a dry brushed under painting like I did on my Death Guard Plague Marines. I like the contrast paints but they are really expensive.  They work well for this technique but they take some getting used to.  I don't think they make good paints for beginners because of the amount of brush control they require and that fact that you need to think about layers in reverse like you do when painting with watercolors.  You can't just fix a problem by painting over it unless you paint your primer layer back first.  In that respect they are very unforgiving for a new painter but they are very similar to the glazing technique I have been using a lot lately so for me they work.  It's convenient not to have to mix up the glazes before painting and the have a better pigment ratio than my own glazing technique.  They do require some getting used to but I think I'm getting better with them. 

I did paint a batch of minis with Contrast paint in June.  About 8 mostly Wizkids unpainted minis for D&D and Pathfinder.  I never got around to posting them but some of them turned out really nice. 

 I really like these two new Bones Black minis from Reaper.  They are the Crimson Herald and the Dreadmere Wight. I think I would like to get some Zombies and paint them up with the Nurgle flesh green color I used here to make some minions for this pair. 

I knew when I saw the Herald figure how I wanted to paint him and I'm really happy with the way he turned out.  I was able to use the GW contrast paints to pretty good effect by glazing the pink color over the green color where the tentacles transitioned from green to pink.  I also added some pink stippling which I think really gave the model some atmosphere. 

These are some old Reaper lizard men but I really like these sculpts.  For some reason they just give off a classic lizard man vibe. 

I like the way the contrast paints worked on these as well.  They seem to really shine on creatures and other organic models.  I tried to stick with the classic lizard man green look here.  

This was the free promo figure for the month of June Garghuk the Ogre.  This mini was an awesome sculpt and a lot of fun to paint.  He's simple but still looks really nice and his details are well defined.  The pose was not complicated so it was easy to get a brush around the model.  If I was doing a "learn to paint" class I would strongly consider using this model. 

I had a little trouble using the contrast paint on the skin tones because of the large surface but it wasn't too hard to get the problems worked out.  I really like the way the Snake Bite Leather and Gor Guntha Fur turned out in particular. 

 These are a combination of the Bones Black Dreadmere Mercenaries, the Dreadmere Ranger, and Fruella Dreadmere mercenary packs.  The later two are metal minis.  Of course these all have a similar style so I thought I would paint them up as an irregular unit.  I think they would make a good Sheriff and Posse or a Ranger and Woodsmen.  Some group of NPCs that might be encountered in a dark forest. 

 I did have a little trouble with the contrast paints rubbing off the coats on these minis while I was painting them.  I've had this problem with other glazing techniques as well. 

These are a couple of metal Reaper figures from the Dark Heaven line.  Brother Roberto, cleric and Erick Paladin Initiate.  I liked the medieval fantasy feel of both of these minis.  They looked like they would make good companion pieces.  The cleric is really quite well dressed.  I painted him up to look a bit like a traveling Jesuate but he could be done us as more of a cardinal.    

The priest was the hardest to paint with the contrast paints.  The bottom parts of his over robe got really dark because I tend to do my dry brushing lighter at the top and darker at the bottom.  I had to go back in a paint in highlights then glaze them again with the grey contrast paint to get the details.  I really enjoyed painting the armor on the paladin but it didn't photograph very well.  In fact both of these models look a lot better in person but that happens some time.  I think they are quite worthy of my tabletop however so over all they were a success.  

I still have pretty mixed feelings about the GW contrast paints.  I feel like they play to my style pretty well and I have enough experience to handle them but I think a lot of new painters will be frustrated by them.  A lot of the darker tones really need to be thinned down and it's really hard to tell the difference between the browns in particular until you use them a while.  Some of the colors shift quite a bit when you thin them as well.  You really have to be able to block in large areas on a mini in one go to make these work which takes good control and if you are not careful they rub off pretty easily.  The skin tones are also kind of hard to work with.  I was fine to use my dry brush technique on the male models that I wanted to look ruff but I had to paint light grey back onto the face of the one female model I did this month to avoid giving her a five o'clock shadow.  Since I've been using similar techniques for a while I was able to predict this.  All in all I'm happy with them but buyer beware for those unfamiliar with using glazing techniques.   

Monday, December 24, 2018

Warhammer 40,000 First Strike Death Guard Plague Marines step by step painting

My wife and I used to play Warhammer 40,000 during the 2nd edition of the game.  We quit after 3rd edition came out because we didn't like the way the new edition played.  Since that time Games Workshop has produced several editions of 40K, as it is called, and although I have purchased several of their miniatures for other games I have not played the game itself.

One of the reasons we didn't try any of the new editions was the cost involved in getting back into the game itself.  Recently however Games Workshop has come out with new starter sets with lower entry level cost so we picked up the "First Strike" boxed set.  First Strike is the cheapest of the new introductory boxed sets so we picked it up for $40.00 at the local game store.  I was really impressed with the 6 Marines and 9 Nurgle Death Guard minis that came in the box.  I decided to paint up the Death Guard Plague Marines first because they looked like the biggest challenge and the most fun.  

They seemed perfect for my new black and white under-painting technique with glazes so I snapped them together and base coated them.

I used Dupli-Color Sandable Automotive Primer for my base cote. Someone turned me on to this years ago and it has been my go to for metal and hard plastic miniatures since then.  It's not very cheap.  I think my last can was around $8.00 but Games Workshop charges a lot more for their spray primers so it's not that bad.  I don't use a whole lot of "pro" miniature painting products.  I just prefer to spend my money on miniatures and terrain than paints.  

Although I recently posted these techniques on this blog I'm starting over again from the beginning.  After cleaning up my black under-cote I chose a medium grey for my first layer of dry-brushing.

One of the things I like about this technique is that you can see all the detail on the figures up front.  I usually paint over a black under-cote but my vision isn't quite what it used to be so it's nice to be able to see what is going on.

After the medium grey I choose a lighter grey for my next dry-brushing cote. As I said in the previous tutorial make sure you clean your brushes often.  You also need to dry the brush out fairly well before loading it up again.

In my other tutorial I stopped here.  Most of the miniatures I've painted with this technique I've started glazing at this level.  

This time I've chosen to do another layer of dry-brushing here with a pure white because I really wanted to pop out the details.

One thing I'm not sure that I noted is that I tend to paint lighter at the top of the miniature.  I didn't even go below the waist line with the white.  I think this works well to draw the eye to the top part of the miniature.  The effect is subtle but it really worked out on this job.  

In order to create my glazes I use Pledge floor finish mixed with acrylic paint.  This is the old "Future" floor finish that has been used in the wargaming, model, and film industries for years for creating glazing techniques.
I went with Iguana green because it had a good Nurgle look.

I like to use a fairly soft round brush to deliver my glaze onto the models.  I used a Citadel "Standard" brush for this.  I do buy some Citadel products for painting just not their paints.  Here I have glazed the armor of the Plague Marines.  I try to work for largest area to smallest with this technique since it's a fast method but not very forgiving.  If you make a mistake you can lift glaze off of areas with a damp brush but it's best to try and keep the paint where you want it.  

I picked up this coral color for the tentacles.  I started to go with a lighter pink color but when I tested it on my table it looked too weak. 

The coral color worked out pretty well.  I'm developing a pretty good eye for what a glaze will look like over the under-painting.  This takes time like using any other technique.

I then chose a spice tan color to glaze the bones.  I'm planning on picking up the highlights on the after I'm done with the glazing.

The bone color looks pretty good here.  I don't think it would look too bad even if I decided not to highlight it.  This technique is kind of a play at your own level.  It looks pretty good to just do the glazes and the final wash but you can layer over the glazing as much as you think you need to.  

Being Plague Marines these guys have a lot of boils and sores even on their armor.  Such are the gifts of Nurgle.  I chose to use this antique gold color. I've also painted the skin tone here on the champion using a medium flesh.      

Like on the bone I plan to highlight the boils and sores after I do the over all wash.  You can really see the minis come together at this point.  Another reason I paint largest area to smallest is because each stage goes faster than the other.  

The middle guy here "Boba Fester" has a loin cloth and a tie rag around his gun.  I chose this oxide brown for those but I also used it on the other figures for the ribbed hoses and the few places the armors under-suit shows.   

I mixed equal amounts of black and phthalo blue to glaze the housing on the guns.  Phathalo is a strong pigment so it holds it's own with black.  I could have just used black but I like a little blue in my black highlights some time especially in this case.  

A lot of the pictures I've seen of the Plague Marines and other Nurgle figures have had tentacles with purple tips.  I wanted to replicate that on these figures because I really like that look.   

The purple worked out really well and it looks great with the green armor.  I think it gives the tentacles a real living look.  When painting a glaze over another glaze it is important not only to make sure the base glaze is dry but also to make sure the over glaze is weaker than the under glaze so the highlight hold.  If you need more color in the shadows just apply additional layers of glaze to the shadowed areas.    

Now I'm too the metallics.  I mix Black and Silver to get a gunmetal color and paint all my steal bits straight with this.  This is not a glaze.  I do thin the paint a bit but only enough to get it to flow.  

On some minis I've left my steel bits with just this color depending on what I want the end result to look like.  On these I used some pure silver to highlight a bit.  

A couple years ago when I was painting a lot I had a good formula for gold but I lost track of it.  Usually I add in a little dark brown or copper with a brighter gold.  I'm still trying to find something that works as well as what I used to have.  

After I finished these guys I noticed that a lot of the Plague Marines had more gold on them that I used.  Every single plate was bordered with gold.  I also saw some really simple Plague Marines without any gold or metallic on the armor at all and they looked fine.  With all the extra gold bits hanging off their armor I decided not to do every piece of armor.  I use this technique as a speed painting technique so I also made the choice because I felt it was going to slow me down too much without giving me much.   

So now I'm ready to make the magic happen with the final wash.  I'm using Agrax Earthshade, another Citadel product, as my over all wash.  This step is pretty critical.  As I said earlier this technique is not very forgiving.  If you bleed over color onto a part of the miniature you don't want it on it's hard to take it back off or cover it up.  You can re-paint the base cote and do another glaze but it is best to just be careful.  However where details come together you are going to get some bleed.  You can see it clearly on the tentacle on the Champions leg where I wasn't able to lift the paint that bled off.  This stage will fill that in and it won't show up.  Not only that it will tie the figure together and make it look like you spent hours carefully blending layers.  

I could not have been happier with the results of this ink wash.  The Citadel ink washes are really impressive.  I'm more than happy to spend the money on them.  If you look close you can see that I missed a couple details.  Mostly a couple of the little gold flies and a couple really subtle tentacle tips.  I would rather have not missed these but it's pretty easy to fix them at this stage.

Another trick I've found is that the Citadel Reikland Fleshshade makes a pretty good subtle rust effect.  I considered doing a lot of rusty weathering on these guys.  I've seen some done that way but again time was a factor so I just went with a little rust.  

Here you can see the effects of the fleshwash on "Boba Fester's" gun barrel.  Also I'm ready to bring up the bone parts.  I'm mixing some of the Spice Tan with Ivory for the highlight.  

Like I said this is a technique I could have skipped but in this case I really felt like bringing up the bone parts was important.  It didn't take me long to apply in thin layers.  

Also like I said I decided to add some highlights to the boils and sores so I again mixed the ivory with antique gold and used thin layers to highlight them.  

I'm really glad I decided to take the steps of highlighting the boils and bones.  It only took a few minutes for this step and it really worked.  Just look at all that sexiness......

The minis are basically done at this point so it's time to work on the bases.  For the last few years I've been using three levels of dry-brushing to finish my bases.  Here I have chosen burnt umber a medium tan and a light tan.  

I always thin down the first cote quite a lot to get a little extra depth from the black base cote.  Sometimes I will add a layer to the lip of the base but not very often.  This cote usually takes a long time to dry but you really need to let it dry before moving on to dry-brushing.  For some reason when I do this I always end up with one mini who's base won't dry as quickly as the others.  This time it was "Mr. Trencher" the figure on the right that gave me trouble.  

Here is the medium tan layer dry brushed on.  There seems to be a lot of debate on how to finish the edge of the bases on these types of figures.  I used to paint the base edges black because that looks really nice when the figures are on display and not on terrain and it looks clean for photographs but it looks kind of jarring on the play table.  then I starting painting the base in the darkest color I used on the base but lately I've just been dry-brushing over the edge giving the model some texture.  I find this looks the best on the game table.  

Here is the final light tan dry-brush.  I think I chose a good color for my Nurgle force.  Keeping bases all the same color when building an army is really helpful for creating a uniform look even if your figures are painted in different colors.  

I chose some bright green static grass for these guys.  I thought it would contrast nicely with the pinkish/purple tentacles.  

One thing I've learned when using static grass is that you need to take a little time with it.  I paint on full strength Elmers Glue-all pretty heavily then I press big clumps of static grass on to the glue.  Then I wait at least 10 minutes to shake the excess back into the container.  If you shake the static grass of too quickly or paint the glue on to thin you usually end up with thin patchy grass.  

As you can see the static grass looks nice and thick here.  Now these guys are basically finished and ready for clear cote so your cheeto munching friends don't completely ruin them during game play.  

I'm using Testors Dullcote for my clear cote.  It's pretty much an industry standard.  I've not found anything flatter and that's important because my glazes have been built up with a slightly glossy floor finish.  

I like using a clean surface to clear cote whenever possible or to at least I try to avoid one I've used pigmented paints on to avoid accidental paint transfer onto these finished models.  I also make sure to leave enough gap between my models so that I can spray around the group and get good coverage on the sides.  Be careful not to space them too far apart.  If they are too far apart then particles of the clear cote may tend to dry out in the air and cause grainy texture.  This is also a problem when applying a base cote.

After the initial cote has dried I turn the models on their back and spray another cote from the bottom then when that dries I turn them on their front for the final cote.  

I think these guys turned out pretty good especially for my tabletop standards.  all in all I finished them in just a few hours.  I could have probably got them done quicker but I chose to add a few more details.