Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Miniatures - Games Workshop Fen Beast

This model was in the first case that I opened looking for unpainted models to work on, so it was the first on the table. The Fen Beast from Games Workshop was released as a limited edition model to coincide with the Dark Shadows Warhammer campaign in 2004. It was a monster that could be summoned by a Truthsayer or a Dark Emissary, special spellcasters that were also released specifically for this campaign. I've had the model assembled, primed, and washed for quite a while.

It was primed white and washed with dark brown ink when I pulled it from the case. Being away from it for years, I drybrushed the whole model with Ceramcoat Quaker Grey to pick out the details. If you haven't looked at a model in a long time, it's helpful to do something like this so you can see what you're working with and make some decisions about how to paint it. I decided I wanted the bulk of the model to be brown, with some greenish undertones. The rocks and bones will add some bright spots on the model, and I'll pick out the vines in a bright green.

I base coated the branches, vines, and bones with Games Workshop Scorched Brown. I am trying to use the last of my Scorched Brown on one-off models since I can't buy more. If you know you can't get anymore of a particular color and you want your models to be consistent, plan ahead as much as possible so you're not stuck repainting several squads in a larger army. At this point, I have enough left in the pot for one or two more models and then I'll move to a similar color from another manufacturer. I base coated all of the muck areas on the model with Citadel Dark Angels Green. I wasn't too worried about being clean with the base coating, because any places I make mistakes will easily be covered later.

Next I drybrushed the whole model with Games Workshop Bestial Brown. This brightened the brown a bit and muted the green. As the final prep stage, I washed the whole model with Games Workshop Devlan Mud wash. This brought everything together, picked out and shaded the details, and gave me good lining in the deeper recesses on the model.

I should note that I really don't like how Games Workshop has decided to reformulate their paint line. I recognize that a lot of people just want to paint quickly and get to playing, but having the different formulations for different stages really did a disservice to people learning to paint. One of the most useful things to learn as a beginning painter is how to thin and blend your paint for different effects. Thinning a paint for drybrushing is very different than creating a consistent wash. Games Workshop has really moved completely into being a different company, separate from other hobby companies by reducing their range to premixed stages. Instead of developing good hobby skills that transfer well to other ranges in their customers, they are making them dependent on only using Games Workshop products. I think this hurts those hobbyists in the end, because they will approach all other paints expecting to have their work done for them and not realizing that these other ranges offer much broader possibilities for modeling and painting.

That said, I do really like the Games Workshop washes. They give good consistent coverage and have excellent color. Washes are one of the more difficult things to mix yourself and get consistent coverage. Games Workshop did an excellent job at formulating a range of washes that is easy to use and works well. I just wish they hadn't gutted the rest of their range to do it.

With all of the base coloring done, I started picking out the details on the Fen Beast. I used Ceramcoat Cape Cod Blue and Quaker Grey to highlight the stones. I highlighted the wood bits with Games Workshop Kommando Khaki. I highlighted the bones with Games Workshop Bleached Bone and my white craft paint. The spearpoint and armor on the skeleton were painted with Citadel Tin Bitz and highlighted with Citadel Chainmail. I painted the vines and roots with Citadel Dark Angels Green and highlighted them with Games Workshop Camo Green. Finally, I made a thinner mix of Games Workshop Desert Yellow and built up the highlights on the face.

Fen Beast front

Fen Beast back

I realized after I got the model to this point that I still need to get to a store to pick up some PVA glue. Once I do, I will add some texturing to the base and finish the model.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Finally painting again

This week was my first week at the new job. Between that and getting most everything unpacked and arranged at the new place, I'm starting to settle in a bit. California still isn't home yet, but it's getting there. In the process of getting all the last details sorted, I've been giving a lot of thought to gaming, painting miniatures, and blogging.

Needless to say, getting back to work full time is taking a big toll on the free time I have available. So far this week, I've spent all of my free time before today getting things arranged, taking care of errands, and working and commuting. I have had a little time to read before bed, but not enough concentration or energy to really read or follow any new gaming material. Eventually, I'll be able to hire people to take care of some of the routine stuff like housekeeping and shopping, but it's not happening right now.

I also realized that I moved a few time zones west, which means that all of the regular games I've been playing in and running online would start at 4 or 5 pm instead of 7 or 8. Since I get off work at 4 and don't get home until after 5, that means I need to either find some new games or give up on most of my gaming schedule.

As far as miniatures, I haven't had much time or energy to paint this week. Today I decided to get something out of the cases and paint a bit. The first case I opened had a handful of old unpainted Games Workshop models, so I grabbed one and started painting. After a couple hours, I needed a break.

I've been reading and trying to catch up on all of the blogs on my blogroll, but I'm still several hundred posts behind. After reading a hundred or so posts, everything started running together, so I decided to take a break from reading and write this and let you all know what is happening.

Obviously, I have a lot of demands on me that I didn't have a few weeks ago. Just as obviously, though, I am extremely happy and excited to be back at work and gainfully employed for a change. I know that eventually things there and at home will settle down, and I will have more time for gaming. Right now isn't that time, though.

For the moment, I'm still excited about playing games, painting miniatures, and keeping up the blog. If I can find a bi-weekly game that fits the rest of my schedule, I'll start playing again. I'm definitely going to send a message to the players in the games I run and see if I can get something going with them soon. If there's a choice between playing and running a game, though, I'm always going to prefer running one.

For painting, I'm hoping to do a little painting in the morning before work during the week and at least a little one day of every weekend. I'm still trying to hold to my rule of not buying any more models until the ones I have are painted and either being used for gaming or sold. That means I'll definitely be putting some models out for sale to clear space if it doesn't look like I'll be painting them soon. Otherwise, I'll be painting some for play and some for sale.

I'm not really focusing on one particular project, though. Instead I'm going to simply open the next case or box in line and paint whatever is on top. That means that some of the more recent projects may not get finished for a while, but it also means I can focus a bit on getting models done. Eventually, I'll get to where I am only buying as I paint, and my projects and writing about them will be a bit more focused.

I'm still planning to play my favorite minis games as much as possible. That means more Fanticide, along with a few other games, if I can find more people in the area that play. Unfortunately, I haven't found a store that is easy for me to get to, so it may be a little difficult to find people. I'm still hopeful, though. If nothing else, I can always paint the figures to use at conventions or when I travel to Chicago or Indy.

As far as blogging goes, I'm going to do my best to keep writing as I get the time and energy. I'll keep posting pics of minis as I paint them. I also plan to keep posting modeling and painting tips as I use them. I have a ton of models to get finished, and I'm sure I'll get to everything that people have asked me to talk about in the process. I also plan to finish some of the games, scenarios, and other projects that I have hinted at over the past couple years. I definitely am not running out of ideas, but I need to pace myself and do things as I can without interfering with the day job.

So that's where I'm at right now. Getting into the new place and the new job is great. I'm still looking forward to keeping up as much here as possible, but it may take me some time to get everything to work together. In the meantime, I hope you'll bear with me a bit.

Expect to see some miniatures stuff coming on Monday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Getting back to it

It looks like most of the problems with AT&T are resolved, and I finally have phone reception and Internet service at home. Unpacking is also proceeding well.

I got my hobby stuff sorted and somewhat set up, including my much smaller painting table. I had to leave the plexiglas-covered door behind in Indy, so I'm having to decide how best to rearrange and organize my painting area. I got some shelves to use to sort and organize my supplies, but I didn't get enough to hold everything. That means a lot of things are still in boxes stacked next to the table.

I did pull out some figures and paints to work on over the holiday tomorrow, though. Hopefully actually getting some paint on the palette and wielding some brushes for a bit will help me get back in the swing of things.

Monday, November 12, 2012

AT&T is driving me crazy

I'm mostly moved. Waiting to have the storage pod delivered on Thursday. If all goes well, I'll have Internet service on Thursday, as well. AT&T doesn't know because they can't check the line until they turn the service on.

I'm also living in the middle of a zone without cell service. Basically, there is no available service within five blocks of my apartment. To do this post, I had to go to the McDonalds down the street.

If things work out and I get connected on Thursday night, I'll try to resume regular posts then. Otherwise, AT&T and I will have to go a few more rounds.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Moving forward

Yesterday I packed everything I have to ship to California, arranged the shipping, and started getting things lined up with the movers on the other end. I was a little surprised to see that almost everything I own will fit in a 300 cubic foot space with some room to spare. Apparently, I'm doing incredibly well at trimming down on the things that I keep. I plan to trim even more on the other end, so I may have some cool gaming stuff for sale soon. If I trim the game collection, I'll be sure to give the readers here first shot at the stuff before it goes to eBay.

I'll still need to get new furniture when I get to California, since I only packed a few shelves and an antique table I inherited from my great-grandfather through my grandmother. Two of the things I'm leaving behind in Indy are my big painting table and my folding game board. I'm planning to replace them with a couple of 2' x 4' tables that I can push together and cover with a battlemat for games. That way I don't have to store a separate game board and I force myself to keep the painting table clean and organized.

This week I'm cleaning the old apartment in Indy and tying up all the last loose ends for the move. I decided to ship my painting supplies early so I don't have to wait for them on the other end. I'll be using this week to catch up on some other projects instead of working on models. Hopefully I can get a few posts up about other things besides painting. The minis posts will resume once I get set up out west.

If anybody knows of a good battlemat that is like the old Chessex mats, let me know. I want something that is durable and has a similar green color. I prefer flocked mats, but I'll look at an unflocked one with the right recommendation.