Thief of Hearts

I have said many times how much I love Dark Sword miniatures.  The level of detail and precision makes it a dream to paint.  By comparison, the figures almost “paint themselves”, which make them ideal subjects for the live streams, such as this facebook live episode.

I used some Green Stuff World flower tufts on the base, which was a very nice compliment to all the purple tones on the figure itself.  I have many more of these Dark Sword figures prepped, hoping to show dozens of different techniques in both oil paints and ‘regular’ acrylic paints.

I will be doing special YouTube versions of the live painting sessions on many more Dark Sword figures.  These will be available for the Patreon supporters who pledge $5, and those pledging $10 can win these figures in secondary raffles, in addition to the usual monthly raffle.
I am hoping that the page does well enough that I can start to get more interesting large figures to paint in oils.  
As always, any support for the page helps a great deal!

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Swamp Things

When we first started painting figures back in 2001, we were working on a lot of  Celtos, Void and Chronopia miniatures.  I especially liked the Celtos minis, and a number of the Chronopia figures had a similar set of sculpts.
They were all sculpted by Kev White I believe, which meant that there would be certain factors that made them fun to paint!

They tended to be more of a “blank canvas”, and not buried in straps and belt buckles!  This meant that you could take the figure in more directions, and make your own choice.
With the advent of ZBrush, you could practically create a sculpt entirely out of belt buckles, because there’s a ‘brush’ in that program which you can use to paint those buckles all over the mini. 
Having those open surfaces to work with meant that you could put more of your own flavor on the figure.

Here’s an example of a typical Celtos mini… and there are many more in the gallery!

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At last!

I remember seeing this figure posted to various painting sites way back in 2003… part of the Rackham craze that had a major effect on sculpting and painting.
While today’s big change in sculpting is ZBrush, at this time using additional materials that were not green stuff for sculpting was not very common.  I believe that Fimo was also used, which probably led to lots of exploding originals during vulcanization.
Having done a lot of stuff with sculpey, I know that you can get really fine details with it… and it can even be carved and sanded after the fact.
I believe that I used some Fimo as I was sculpting this giant Mastadon:

It was very fun to get a chance to work on this figure myself, as I can still remember some of those pictures that I saw posted in the days of painting forums.  Almost past living memory! 🙂

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A New Standard

Everybody loves banners for their units, but sometimes you have to convert them from existing infantry figures.  In this case, I needed the “on foot” version of my Easterling Kataphract standard bearer… since you can be knocked off your horse in LOTR.

The process was very simple, taking a piece of heavy paper, soaking it in a glue/water mix, then shaping it, and gluing it to a plastic rod.
I never really liked the solid metal banner figures, and this was a great opportunity to make something unique and useful!

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Diving in!

I have been eagerly awaiting a chance to paint one of my aircraft for Bolt Action for many months.  Very slowly, I have been collecting 1/48 scale kits for all nations, eras and theatres.  
The Junkers JU 87, or Stuka, was particularly important in the early war phase which I am representing in my battle reports, so it had to be the very first one!
While I also have a 1/48 scale version of this, I thought that I would try the Blitzkrieg Miniatures kit.  It was an extra challenge to paint, since it is resin (aka heavy!) and the decals were missing.
This meant that I had to do them by hand.  Freehand is something I am very used to, but not this kind of geometric shape on such a large and unusually shaped surface.  Also, these had to be ‘repeated’ on both sides of the aircraft!
I found some references of markings from France 1940, grabbed a pencil, and got down to work!
I drew out a few ‘guides’ in the form of dots, followed by lines, just to indicate where each marking should begin and end, so that size would be matched up on each side.
I used a grayish/white mix and started by painting the inner white sections of the Balkenruz.  It will be easier to paint the black sections around this, thus ‘cleaning up’ and variations in the white lines. 
You can see that in this image, with the black filler acting like a ruler, straightening out the white areas.

This was repeated for all the markings.  If necessary, I went back in with the white to clean up the black areas, and even a touch of the dark green fuselage and wing color in case I needed to clean up an outer edge.

I still have to weather this some more, but that will probably wait until after I have filmed the next Battle Report in my Bolt Action series!!
I will be using some silver paint and sponges to ‘remove’ some of the dark green paint around key areas, like access panels, where the pilots and crew would be stepping on the wings, and so on.  Since that won’t show up very much in the few moments that this will be on screen, I thought I could make that another how to article.

It certainly looks the part on my Ardennes board. I have not used an airstrike in any of my Bolt Action games yet, and it will be an important part of the next episode of the Battle Report series called “Sickle Stroke”.

As I have researched the Battle of France, I continuously read about the methods used for dealing with the heaver French tanks such as the Char Bis.  While their standard Anti Tank weapons were ineffective “Door Knockers”, the Junkers JU 87’s were quite deadly attacking from above.
I want to represent this with the forces that have been chosen, as well as the scenario itself.

Just like the first report, I am trying to blend a historical set up with a bit of “What if”.  There were many counterattacks planned by the Allies for the Battle of France, but between poor communication, coordination and even dead commanders, these hasty offensives ended up with poor support.
In this case, I wanted to see if a mixture of heavy French units could outflank a rapidly advancing German force that is attempting to cut off the Northern units of the French army that had gone into Belgium, etc.
This report will also feature the naming of some of my terrain pieces after the top Patrons of my Patreon Page.  The idea popped into my head the other day, and there are plenty of pieces of terrain that need names!
So, you will see Spark’s Peak, McCoy Ridge, the Abassi River, and many more in Sickle Stroke!
To support the making of these reports (each one takes about 18 hours to film, edit, render, etc.), or to have a terrain feature named after you, here is the page:
BTW, I will be doing special patron only videos as well…

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Rock Solid

This rather unusual figure from Mierce Miniatures was painted mostly in oils, with follow up details added later on with ‘regular’ acrylic paints.

It was part of a very large batch of monstrous infantry painted simultaneously, which is a major advantage of the oils.  I can work on many figures at the same time from a number of different projects, since the oils remain wet not just on the palette, but the figures themselves.
This means that I can bounce around moving from one set to the next… especially is the colors are related in any way at all.  I chose a huge number of figures that would need skin and earth tones, and blended away!

The paint stays wet for at least 1 to 2 days, which will likely extend a bit in the summer when the air is not so bone dry.  Also, oils allow you to do a lot of mixing right there on the figure.  This cuts down the time you need to spend on each individual figure, and you don’t have to worry as much about your paint mix drying out on you suddenly.
Once the oils dry, then I can go back in with more precise details on things like the face, and freehand such as the woad.   More to come!

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Vengeance on the Vistula

Some of the most interesting armies that you can field in Bolt Action are various Partisan forces. 
I already have French and Ukrainian Partisan armies under way, but soon I will be able to add one more, courtesy of a new kickstarter campaign!  That would be the Warsaw Uprising.
I am looking forward to working on these, including a Facebook live episode on the Kubus armored car!!
Here’s a link to the campaign:

This unique vehicle was a one of its kind, fashioned like many of the weapons used in the Uprising by the fighters themselves.

Each of these character figures has a story behind them, based on those who were there:
This is a very special character piece. Our friend and painter, Peter Motas’ grandmother served as a medic in the Home Army at the age of 18. We planned to produce a female medic as homage to female service in the home army but when Peter told us this we decided to base it off of photographs off of Danuta. She survived the uprising; despite a room she was in being hit by a tank’s shell. This tank is believed to have been a Tiger tank. Luckily for Danuta, a door crashed into her, absorbing most of the shock but leaving her very injured. She would eventually spend the remainder of the war in a work camp, wearing a “P” for Polish. 

The Polish forces created many weapons as I mentioned earlier, such as this:
The German Army in Warsaw were surprised by the large amount of flame throwers in the insurgent forces. Design work upon a simple flamethrower for the Polish underground, suitable for clandestine production in ordinary workshops from readily available materials, started in 1942 on request of the Home Army main headquarters. Its main purpose was to be used against armoured vehicles. There were several designs produced, of which the most popular was the K-Pattern, becoming a sort of standard weapon of the Polish underground.

Great attention was given to scale and detail, so I think these will be quite nice to paint!

This is the burned out hulk of the Kubus, which I believe has been restored since.

This is just the beginning for this Warsaw Uprising army, with more planned, and stretch goals too.

I look forward to painting this in a live session very soon… attempting to match the historical appearance as closely as possible.  There is a bit of leeway here, as there is a little debate of its exact color scheme.
There are still a few weeks left in the campaign, so you can support the Uprising!!!

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The Star Forged

After using the Vallejo Metal Medium a few weeks ago on the Sauron figure, I just had to give that another try!  These special character figures from Gates of Antares seemed to be the perfect candidates for more tests.  This was the first experimental figure that I painted, which was then followed up by a facebook live session:

This time around, I tried to push the limits of the metal medium a little more… putting even more ‘shading’ on areas like the arms and the staff than I did on the Sauron figure.
I found that I could do all the same sorts of color tints and subtle things that I normally did with my NMM process, just with metals this time! Since this was a sci-fi figure, I had more room to maneuver with those wild color combos!

Many thanks for all the folks who have been supporting the Patreon page!  that makes a tremendous difference, as the more support the page generates, the more videos I can create.  As I have mentioned many times, I try very hard to have new an interesting topics to show.  The Metal Medium is much like the oil paints, as I learn something new every time I try them.
I think this makes a difference on the videos, as it is almost like we are learning side by side!

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Ice Queen

Here are the finished images from a Facebook Live session that demonstrated the use of the Reaper Clear and Liner paints.  The idea was to show how to bring something like this from primer to nearly complete, using the Shaded Basecoat and Glazing techniques.
The link to that session:

This Mierce Miniatures figure was a lot of fun, and I even added some carved bits of sculpey on the base to make the figure mesh with the base.  It also gave me more faceted surfaces on which to demonstrate the glazes.

In the live session, you can see me lay out the lights and darks very rapidly in my Shaded Basecoat technique.  The original Painting Pyramid video on this subject is now included on my Patreon Page for supporters to watch.
Not only am I doing the live sessions, but I have now added some of those Painting Pyarmid videos to the Patreon Page, as well as new patron only content…even Bolt Action battle reports!
If you can support the page, it would help me secure more interesting minis such as this one, and provide even more time to do these videos!

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Rolling out the Tundra

After several articles on both the mat and how these terrain pieces were made, I just had to see what they would all look like together!

Obviously I will be making many more pieces, not just of these types, but frozen rivers, hills, and iced over ponds.
Here’s a link to the kind of mat I’m using:×4-alpine-f-a-t-mat-gaming-mat/

As you can see, I was able to mimic the printed pattern of the battle mat (from TableWar), which has been the point of all my terrain building.  While it would have been OK to have terrain pieces completely covered in snow, those would have been better on the Alpine mat, which is covered in a similar manner.
If you look through the previous tutorial posts, you will notice how I tried to plan every layer of my terrain pieces in advance, down to the color and coarseness of the flock.

The larger clumps of flock not only matched the greenish tones of this mat, but it made it very easy to brush my snow mix right onto the applied flock to make that scattered snow pattern.

When it comes time to film battle reports on this mat, I will be using some snowflake Christmas decoration to make additional ground cover snow.  This will help to mesh the terrain elements and mat even better, and provide an extra level of detail for up close shots.

Just imagine trails being left by the treads of the tanks in the ‘snow’… should be quite a sight!

By the way, I will also be doing plenty of tutorials on painting these winter vehicles… you can see how I winterized this T-34/85 on a Facebook Live:

The last article that I created showing how these were done was posted here:

This one shows how I made the bigger pieces:

More tutorial articles are coming… and I think I might even have enough equipment to start doing video terrain tutorials!  Stay tuned…

If you would like to see even more terrain posts, and the battle reports that are under way, you can support me on my patreon page here.  Now that the first sample reports are up, I will start doing Patron Only battles and campaigns.
As you can see, these will cover every theatre and era of the war:

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Video Battle Report #1

At long last, I was able to get the first battle report filmed, edited and posted to YouTube!
Overall it was about 18 hours of work, but hopefully that will be trimmed down somewhat now that I have been through the process of making opening and closing credits, overlay screens and more essential pieces.
The entire game was a learning process in what the limitations would be on time, equipment, and what could actually be shown.  My preference is to show as much of the game as possible, and that means order dice draws and dice rolls.
Seeing the action play out is much more fun than getting turn reviews.  On the other side of this, it means that I have to react as if I am playing two tournament games at once, which means that an order test or another detail may have been missed here and there.

I am also trying to do more than just ‘standard’ games, and my goal is to try and base a few “what if” scenarios based as closely on the historical situation as possible.  Hundreds of hours of research has gone into all this, which may be hard to comprehend… but I felt like it was worth it!

If I did miss something, I tried to put a correction or at least an alert on the screen in post production.  Since filming this first report, I have gotten some new equipment and some new filming regimens that should cut down on the overall time of the game without missing out on the tension of finding out who gets that next order dice, and trying to make those critical choices when you do get that all important first dice 🙂
Here’s a link, and there are many more to come!!!

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The Warped One

It is really interesting to be working on old Confrontation figs after all these years.  I think it was back in 2003 when these were really at their peak, and something that had never really been seen before.  That went for the painting as well as the sculpting.

They had more flow and motion to them to be sure.  Poses tended to be a lot more static in those days.  I seem to remember that a goodly portion of fimo was used in order to get the kinds of details that were usually not found in sculpts in the late 90’s, etc.

Anyway, it will be a lot of fun to work through this massive set of classic figures!  Stay tuned for many more. 🙂

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