Happy Anniversary!

This very fun little miniature is the 25th anniversary figure for Reaper Miniatures.  The face in particular was a fantastic shape to paint, with lots of character and eyes that were shaped well enough to get some nice details as well.

I have not gotten many opportunities to paint figures like this one, so that was great!  A little green stuff was used to extend the pewter base a little bit…

In addition to those Dark Sword figures, I have some Reaper minis which will be part of those Patreon Page demonstration videos.  These will be in addition to the usual live sessions on Facebook.  Just like the Dark Sword figures, those will be available for viewing by Patrons, and then raffled off like the Monthly Raffle figure.
I am going to try and record a few of those this week to see how they go!

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Show me your stripes

This old Confrontation figure was part of a two piece set, and an interesting color scheme was requested.  While the original colors were a bit bland as a combination of light tans, the request was for a tiger stripe appearance.

Given the nature of the sculpt and the pose, it would be a challenge, especially on the face.  The shape was very different from an actual tiger, and they have a very distinct appearance that we are all used to seeing.
I used a series of semi glazing passes with the Secret Weapon weathering paints, which were perfect for the grayish white sections as well as the orange areas.

Once I felt like those areas were pretty well defined, I started to block in the stripes to see if they could follow these unusual contours.  Some of the sculpted mane was very thick, and it would be tough to carry a “line” through it!

It seemed to work out OK, however, and here is your tiger. 🙂
Since I did not have a lot of time invested in my initial semi glazing passes, I was not going to be terribly upset if the stripes would have to be altered, moved, etc.  In fact, I adjusted every single strips along the way, especially as I did the final phases of the shading.

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Preparing for Winter

With the completion of the Ardennes summer forest board, it is time to move on to winter, and the tundra mat from TableWar!  
Just as I have been doing with the Cobblestone and forest mats, the real intent is to show how to match your scatter terrain pieces to the mat itself, so that they don’t seem like an afterthought.
With the cobblestone board, the primary method to match the mat was to carve in the actual cobblestone texture on the ‘bases’ of the buildings.
On this mat, the challenge will be to get patches of snow, as well as greenish and brownish spaces as you see on the mat.
Each of the mats from TableWar have the carrying case, which is also a great way to keep them from getting damaged when they are rolled up!  I am also very glad that they are rugged, and I don’t have to worry about the mat getting any kinks as I try to place it on the table.

As you saw in the last tutorial, my initial winter terrain pieces were corner sections, which not only anchor my backdrops, but are a great way to add some height to your board using scrap pieces.
You can see those here:

I had done some quick airbrushing on these pieces, using the Badger airbrush (with the Stynlrez primers and regular airbrush colors).  I wanted to wait on applying foliage and snow until I had a chance to look at the mat close up, and see what approach I should take.

As you can see, I have a variety of colors and grades of flock, ranging from very coarse to very fine.  I tried to pick foliage colors that matched what I saw on the mat.

Instead of using the spray adhesive as I did on the summer forest pieces, I will use some watered down glue.  While covering the whole terrain piece was in order for that board, you can see that I only want to have some areas covered, leaving more rock exposed.

The watered down glue will get down into all the crevices, and also soak into the flock.  Otherwise, the flock may just sit on top of the thicker Elmer’s glue.

I started out by placing some of the heavier flock, mostly the two shades of brownish green.  As I mentioned, it was important to leave exposed sections, such as my rock steps and the logs.  This can’t be quite as overgrown as my lush spring/summer board!

I worked my way across the entire piece, doing small sections at a time.  Here and there some finer flock was added to get some variety and dimension.

The next post will showcase the addition of the snow, which is a combination of materials and techniques.  Then we will see what these pieces look like on our mat!!
Stay tuned!
As always, if you want to see more tutorial articles like this, you can support the Patreon Page, which allows me to do more projects like these.  Many thanks!

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Carrying a Torch…

Over the last few months, I have been preparing several Dark Sword figures for additional video painting demos to be part of the Patreon page.  These will be more targeted than the usual facebook live sessions.  For instance, I have figures like this one which would obviously feature Object Source Lighting.
The Dark Sword figures are ideal for these kinds of videos, as they have such sharp details.  That makes a big difference when you are trying to get them to be seen on camera, and it even takes less time to paint them because of how fine the detail and casting were done!

I have been testing various new apps like XSplit to make recordings for the YouTube channel.  My goal is to record lessons each week, and then raffle off those figures.  If it works, patrons who pledge to see these videos will get links to that specific video, so they can view it when they wish.

There are some other new things I would like to add to the page, including the original Painting Pyramid videos.  If possible, I could get one full video posted each month, and send that email link to the patrons as I mentioned earlier.
Once I can get the technical elements down, and do some testing, I will be able to send out links to the patrons and see how it works out!  Here’s a link to the page:

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Deal Me In

This Doc Holiday figure was one of my favorite WWX figures, mostly because of the fun I had creating the tree and the bloody playing cards!
One of his abilities was to decapitate enemies by tossing these playing cards at them.  So, I cut up some tiny pieces of paper and painted both number and face cards.  It was definitely a challenge!!

Painting the patterns on the backs of the cards was even more difficult.  Of course, they did not have to be completely perfect, since I was putting blood effects on them.  
It was on my WWX figures that I really got into the “bark and branch” technique, using tree branches and dried foliage to create small trees.
Now that I use the airbrush for ‘primer painting’, getting color on these pieces of foliage is far easier!!

He’s also here:


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Water World

I conducted a number of experiments on these Naiad figures from Mantic Games.  First, I wanted to see what my collection of sea shells might look like on the bases, while I also tried out some new aquarium foliage and even colorful tufts from Green Stuff World.
I ended up having to do the usual modification of the aquarium plants, and that was to do a wash of a greenish mix of Vallejo washes and Reaper Liner paints.  Those dry extremely matte or flat, which kills the shiny texture of the plastic leaves.  They are also very durable and get down into the crevices, which means that they won’t flake off when the leaves move or get bent.

As for the seashells, I had to put a similar glaze over the top of them to make them match the rest of the colors.  They were far too bright and stark otherwise.  It was a much lighter version of the plant wash, since I still wanted to keep the natural patterns on the shells!
Finally, I used a few of the new Green Stuff World grass tufts, which were just the trick to match some of the Reaper Clear Magenta colors and the other high saturation Clear paints.

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Saddle Up!

I have been working very hard to get a lot of new things ready for the Patreon Page… new styles of videos, more figures, and so on.
I have been looking into ways to create Patron only videos, which has meant loading new software, figuring out how to use that, getting the YouTube account approved and settled for these new applications.
My goal with these new types of videos is to record them like my Painting Pyramid videos and have them posted to my YouTube account.  This would mean better resolution than the facebook live sessions, and they would be easier to find.  These would be more frequent than the Facebook sessions, as the figures would be smaller too…
Finally, these figures would also be raffled off, and those pledges eligible to participate would have an even better chance of winning one of these amazing Dark Sword figures.
As I mentioned, I have been furiously prepping dozens of these figures, which will allow me to show all kinds of fun techniques in both acrylics and oils, as well as basing treatments.

I also want to utilize a few larger commission figures for some of the Facebook live sessions, such as this very interesting piece.  This one is calling out for some icy colors, so I will have a lot of fun painting this one live!  While it would be neat to try the oils on it, I think that the Reaper Clear paints might be the medium I will use.

Coming soon to a live session near you is this fantastic cowgirl will be the next oil painting live session, and she will also be the next raffle figure for the Patreon Page.  As always, any level of support gets you into the raffle!
She was a fundraising figure for AMPSA.  If you would like to get one of these for yourself, you can email Dallas at ampsayyc@gmail.com
I cant wait to work with the oil paints on this, as the leather surfaces are just calling for burnt siennas, umbers and ochres!
Here’s the link to the page:

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This Enigma Miniatures figure was a very interesting piece to paint, as most of the figures from that series were.  They always had interesting details.

As this was part of that very large army commission, the basing and overall colors had to match a lot of the previously painted figures.  This meant a very compressed color range!  To top it off, the skin tones were requested to be a blueish black… taking away one more contrast element.

This meant trying to find contrast in those other areas that yea hear me mention so often, and that is warm vs cool, and saturated vs unsaturated.  You can have saturated colors in a limited palette exercise, as long as they are in line with the rest of the colors in that ‘family’.  It is a very subtle way to establish contrast, but it is a lot of fun to try!

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Wildlife Refuge

This Great Eagle was the centerpiece of my LOTR Galdhrim army.  The figure itself is no longer in print, but it was the perfect pose to represent a giant beast taking off after dispatching his prey!

I had a lot of fun painting the wings and the face.  There are a few other similar creatures that I painted as the subject for my Painting Pyramid tutorial videos, including the Griffon and Giant Owl.  Those are each 105 minutes long, and demonstrate how to paint these large monsters in a more efficient way.
When you have large wings such as these, it is important to get some variations in those brownish tones.  You can see that some are more saturated that other, while greyish browns compliment those brighter tones.  Some sections have more yellows, and other parts have some greenish shades.
While having lights and darks can be important, keeping these very broad surfaces interesting takes more than one kind of contrast!

I especially enjoyed painting the face, as it was very nicely sculpted.  After painting many birds of prey in 2D art, I was very familiar with how to approach that part.

The base was particularly important.  Given the position of the talons, I really wanted to have some dead Easterlings as fresh kills.  If you saw some of my previous Lord of the Rings posts, you know that I had a large Easterling/Khandish alliance army.
For the Bilbo’s Bash tournament, I had to have one “good” and one “evil” army.  They had to show in some way that they were fighting each other, so the Khandish chariots had trophy heads, while the Gwaihir figure had it’s Easterling victims!

A few plastic Easterling figures were cut in a few spots and repositioned.  I have a number of blog posts from that tournament, so you can check those out in the Bilbo’s Bash section and see how they were used.  Given the unique way combat is resolved in LOTR, this kind of unit was a great compliment to the Cavalry and to the Stormcaller casters.
The general idea was to use the spell to knock down the enemy, which would be charged by the infantry from the front.  At the same time, the very fast cavalry would strike from the sides, and the Great Eagle would fly over the mass and pounce from behind.  It proved to be very deadly!!

He’s also here:

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The Spectre

I remember when we first got these Barrow Wight figures many years ago.   It was part of an old boxed set from Lord of the Rings, which also contained Tom Bombadil, Goldberry and the captured Hobbits.
I think I made a diorama out of the Tom and Goldberry figures, but painted these separately for our Lord of the Rings games.  After giving them a few little updates a while back, I really enjoyed the look of them!
While we have been doing NMM since the very beginning over 17 years ago, it has been very fun to add these extra touches, such as greens and purples.  This creates a lot of extra depth to the metals, especially when the subject is supposed to be as ethereal as a Barrow Wight!
Even in the cloaks, some very bright greens were counterbalanced by more muted browns and umber tones.

He’s also here:

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Snow Patch

Part two of the winter terrain series begins with a much larger version of the piece that was created in part 1.  I will be using a much larger scrap piece from the Barbarossa board, and a piece of the thin underlayment foam.

You can see the progressive levels which were added with each section of thinner foam.  I also tried to vary the shape of the edges of the thinner pieces.  When I did the forest board, those tended to end in very neat arcs, and with this board, I want to have them be more irregular.
Note that each piece is cut with a beveled edge, and that I have left some room for adding trees, rocks, and other elements.

I always save my left over pieces!  The two sections on the left are going to be ideal for larger rivers which will need bridges for crossings.  
The image on the right shows that irregular edge I was talking about…

After gluing the pieces together, strips of painters tape were added to keep them from warping or separating during the subsequent steps.

Just as was done in part one, I took the shaved pieces of thicker foam and made ‘steps’ of rocky outcroppings to resemble slate, etc.

Plaster will be used to manipulate the shape of this hill section, and also provide some structural strength.  The idea is the make a sloping edge which will make it easier for miniatures to stand on the sloped parts.
The gentle slope should be fine for whole squads to march across or gun teams to set up.
If the plaster is mixed a little “drier”, you can even sculpt a few additional shapes into the hill section.  However, the more plaster you add, the heavier your terrain piece will be!

The plaster mix is roughly applied to the entire hill section with a palette knife, making sure that I leave those rocky outcroppings exposed.  Adding this plaster mix will fill in all the gaps around them, and make it seem as if they really are part of the hill, and overgrown.

Pine trees are added, sticking the wire bottoms into the foam with some glue, making sure to leave room for infantry squads, gun teams and even vehicles.  Place them unevenly, pairing up a smaller tree with a bigger one, and then placing a mid size tree a little further away.
That is a better and more natural composition.

I set some logs into the wet plaster, which will both look more natural and provide a place for a smaller infantry squad or mortar team to be in hard cover.

Using a wet brush mixed with glue, I brushed over the plaster as I did in part 1 to smooth it over.  The glue now provided a bonding surface for the leaves and gravel which were added in this step.

Now it’s time to let this all dry, so that it can be painted, flocked and get its snow texture!
I will show you some images of the new winter tundra battle mat which I am attempting to match as I put these finishing touches on these first terrain pieces.
This is just the beginning, as there are many more experiments that I want to conduct with this board!  I also want to make frozen rivers and ponds, blast craters and defensive bunkers/trenches.
If it is possible to support the Patreon Page, it will give me more time to work on more of these terrain pieces that are so much fun!  That will also allow me to purchase more new materials for these experiments:

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East of Eden

This was an interesting figure to paint, from Eden Miniatures.  They have some fun figures as part of the range, especially some of the bigger creatures and characters.

Obviously there are a lot of muted earth tones on this miniature, which meant that I had to work those into the skin tones as much as possible.  To counter all of the greens, grays and browns, I mixed a little of the Reaper Clear Red into the skin tones, which added a ‘rosy’ touch to the skin here and there.

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