Saturday, November 29, 2014

Salvage Crew Saga: SC35 Rancid

Next up in the Salvage Crew Saga is SC35, the ganger-looking guy with an SMG and awesome triple-mohawk.  Actually, I wonder if that hairstyle is called the "Rufio"... heh.

Continuing the "random color assignment", this figure's colors were blue (5), yellow (3), and orange (2).  As before, browns and grays are allowed on all figures.

SC35 - Codename: Rancid

Subject is a petty criminal and mercenary with numerous charges on record, including armed assault, vandalism, and destruction of property.  Rancid does not have any formal military training, but does possess some combat proficiency due to prior gang activity.  The subject is suspected to have some cybernetic implants for enhanced targeting and combat reflexes.  Recently released from Lambda Australis penal colony, Rancid serves as a gun-for-hire in the outer territories.

Getting two warm colors and only a single cool color left me trying to figure out where the blue should go.  Initially, I was going to go for blue jeans, but I decided to use VGC Plague Brown for the yellow option, for more of a "cargo pants" look.  For blue, I chose VGC Ultramarine Blue, which was lightened a little to achieve the appearance of a denim vest.  Finally, orange was used on the hair in the way of VGC Scrofulous Brown and Hot Orange.  The belts and pouches were painted with VGC Beasty Brown, darkened with varying amounts of Coal Black.

Conclusion:  The figure turned out surprisingly coherent, and I'm really pleased that the "random color assignment" method is holding up.  I like the subtle color transition I achieved on the mohawk.  The Army Painter inks I picked up have really helped with shading and glazing, as well.

Next up in the Salvage Crew Saga will be SC36, female sniper.

Salvage Crew Saga: SC23 Darkstar

Having cleaned up the Salvage Crew figures, I was looking forward to painting them.  However, since they don't have a particular game setting (or at least not one I'm familiar with), I didn't really have any ideas on how it should be done.  Are there factions with particular colors affinities?  Should they be painted as individuals or a more cohesive group?  Will they look odd together if I paint them separately?  Since I didn't have any answers and no clear theme had come to mind, I decided to try a bit of an experiment using a six-sided die and ROY G BIV.

If you don't recall, ROY G BIV is the description of the colors of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet).  Since "indigo" is made up I tossed it out, leaving six colors.  Assigning the colors the numbers 1 through 6, I rolled the d6 three times to determine the three colors in a given figure's palette.  Any color variations are acceptable, so long as the color falls in one of the three selected color groups (so both a dark crimson and a light pink would satisfy for "red").  In addition, grays and browns would be allowed for all figures.

Randomly selecting a figure, the first one up was SC23, the armored female with dual pistols.  Here color rolls were violet (6), blue (5), and green (4).  Since the models don't have any existing lore that I'm aware of, I'll be adding my own to help flesh them out a bit.

SC23 - Codename: Darkstar

Subject is believed to be a former employee at a SunTech Energy R&D station in the Uzara system, who stole experimental weapons and equipment before fleeing to the outer territories.  Darkstar wields a pair of compact plasma pistols that are more advanced that typical designs, and wears a composite armor which provides protection against both ballistic and energy projectiles.  The subject now serves as a hired gun, and specializes in technology retrieval.

I settled on Vallejo Game Color Hexed Lichen (armor) and Scurvy Green (bodysuit) for the majority of the model, with Imperial Blue being used on the pistols.  I went with a darker skintone since the figure was in darker, cooler colors.  Black was used for the gloves and boots, and dark gray used for the holsters, belt, and backpack.

Conclusion:  I'd say the random-color-selection experiment was a success!  I really like how the figure turned out, and they're probably not colors I would normally have chosen.  As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm waiting on some Basius 2 pads to finish the bases.  I also liked the Army Painter Inks, as this was my first "full model" test of several of the colors.

Next up in the Salvage Crew Saga will be SC35, male ganger with SMG (the figures don't have names, so I'll try to provide a descriptor to help with identification).

Citadel: Old Chaos Champion and Chaos Familiars

I pulled out a box of old figures earlier this week, and found a few old Citadel Miniatures that I had nearly finished (but never did, for whatever reason).  Having just picked up some Army Painter Inks and looking for an excuse to use them, I decided to finally wrap up these old figures.

The figures were never used for Warhammer Fantasy (the game they were geared towards); I remember ordering them just because I liked their looks.  Many years later, the figure happened to match a villain I created during my City of Heroes/Villains days named Mesonoxian, and that was where his color scheme originated from.

Note that the bases are purposely unfinished.  I have a couple of Basius 2 pads coming (hopefully) early next year, and I plan on going back and finishing off a lot of bases once they arrive!

First up is 021907 Chaos Champion (per the Collecting Citadel Miniatures wiki):

The old Citadel Chaos miniatures had a ton of little details, and it was clear that the sculptors were allowed to let loose when sculpting the figures.  For this figure, the face has an excellent impassive expression and the posture is rather confident.  The right arm and leg appear to either be armored, or covered in a sort of chitin (which, given it's a Chaos Champion, I think the latter is more likely).  The left side has two feet, though the left hand looks fairly normal.

The figure was painted with a black robe with rust orange details to match my villain's design.  I used blood red on the chitin as that was my character's tertiary color, plus it made the chitinous parts stand out further.  The blue skin and yellow eyes turned out very nicely, as did the horns.  The pouches on the belt are painted a dark purple, which is hard to differentiate from the black.  Finally, the staff is painted bronze with a heavy brown wash.

Conclusion:  I'm really happy with how this figure turned out; given that I was aiming to match another creation of my own, I had high expectations.  I'm particularly pleased with how the face and horns turned out!  I think the black robe could use some more highlights (some were applied, but I think they were muted too much with a black wash).  Also, a lighter purple on the belt pouches would help them stand out from the black robe.

Accompanying Mesonoxian are his two familiars:  Mystery Imp Familiar and Skeletal Familiar.

The Mystery Imp was painted with a purple robe and black hat, to keep him with a similar tone to Mesonoxian.  To further link the two, I painted the Mystery Imp's tail the same blue as Mesonoxian.  The satchel and shoes are gray; I felt the rust orange would be too bright for the familiar, and there weren't enough other details to spread the color around.

The Skeletal Familiar is a straightforward skeleton, painted bone with a brown wash.  The staff he's carrying was painted dark brown, with medium brown highlights on the wood grain.  The candle is black with some gray highlights (particularly on the melted wax, to set it off from the staff).  I painted the candle's flame blue to tie this figure to Mesonoxian, as well as to give it an arcane appearance.

Conclusion:  The two familiars were fairly simple, yet they both add a lot of character when paired with Mesonoxian.

So that's my latest "blast from the past" with my older miniatures.  All three of these are solid sculpts that have held up well over the years, and remind me of my early days in the hobby.  I'm glad to have them completed, and look forward to using them in a future game!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reaper Bones: Juliette, Female Wizard

Today I painted up one of the discontinued models from Bones I:  77057 Juliette, Female Wizard from the New 30 set.

Some of the detail in the hands and head is somewhat soft, and I think that's why the figure was not released to retail.  Aside from that, clean up was minimal.  I think the figure works well for a female wizard apprentice, in particular.

I decided to go with a mid-dark blue on the robe, and give Juliette blonde hair.  The back of the robe was bizarre, and as best I could figure there's a sort of cape tucked into the corset (which is still bizarre, but at least seems to match the molded contours).  To give the figure some more color, I decided to go with orange for the cape.  The corset is painted with a medium brown, and the pouches and boots a light tan.

Conclusion:  I think the figure turned out well enough, and seems to have a slight "anime" feel to it.  I'm especially proud of the job I did on the face and eyes, especially considering that one eye is partially obscured by her hair.  I had problems with the orange getting too saturated, though I was able to tone it down a bit further with some leather brown.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Reaper Bones: Ghost King

This week's figure on Monday Miniatures is 77161 Ghost King from the Grave Danger set.

This figure had some slight warping on the base, but once it was glued to a washer it was not a problem.  The details on the armor are a little soft, but not so much that it loses the shape of the details.  Clean up was not too bad, though some of the mold lines are harder to reach due to folds in the robes and the shape of the helm.

I decided to go with a teal and rusty metal palette.  I did not want to go with black, as I wanted a ghostly effect and avoid it looking like a typical wraith or shadow.  The robes and cloak were painted with teal mixed with black, then lighted with subsequent layers.  The armor is a base of Vallejo Tinny Tin, with some Vallejo Gunmetal on top to make it appear ancient and rusted.  The sword is layered with grays, with black and red on the hilt.  I wanted to imply that the sword is enchanted, and did not suffer from neglect as the armor has.

Conclusion:  I only had a vague idea in my head when I started; I was sure of the colors I wanted to use, but not how they were turn out.  I thought about attempting a glow effect on the ghost, coming out from between the plates of armor, but with the complicated overlapping shapes it seemed too complicated to execute properly.  I like how the figure turned out, and I'm glad I took the approach I did.

Next week's figure is 77158 Arrius the Black, Skeletal Warrior, also from the Grave Danger set.

- M:M

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Salvage Crew Miniatures: First Look (Part 2)

In addition to the twenty Salvage Crew figures received from the Kickstarter by Johnny Borg Castings, the campaign also unlocked nine bonus security drones.  Below are pictures of the figures as they arrived (no clean-up, etc.).


The first security drone is also the largest in terms of bulk, as well as being a multi-part model.  I really like the design, as it's versatile and looks like it can withstand a lot of punishment.  The drone is armed with a sizable chaingun, allowing it to function as a heavy support weapon.  It also has a claw for both close-combat and non-combat related tasks.  Finally, it has treads!


The second security drone has a more humanoid appearance, though the extended neck is somewhat bizarre.  I suppose that could give it better maneuverability for sensors (assuming they're in the head), though it certainly looks like an obvious weak point for an attacker.  The drone is clearly a dedicated combat drone, with both arms carrying firearms.


The third security drone mixes it up, as it is a non-anthropomorphic flyer design.  Of special note is the option between two different weapons when constructing the drone.  I haven't decided which option I'll go with, as they both look pretty good.  The drone also has two arms, giving it some non-combat utility.  Of all the drones, this is the one I was looking forward to the most.

(The Others)

And finally, we have... the others.  These were later stretch goals during the Kickstarter campaign, and do not appear to have Salvage Crew model numbers assigned.  The top four (with integral bases) are smaller than I was expecting; the tallest one is about the same height as the shortest female from the Salvage Crew set.  That said, the designs are interesting and I really like the variety (though the intended purpose for some of the drones is not obvious).  The drone on the bottom-left appears to be a sort of trap, where it springs open and fires upon an unsuspecting foe.  Finally, the sleek drone in the bottom-right appears more high-tech compared to the other drones (and perhaps would pair well with SC23).


As I stated, I really like the sheer variety in designs for the various drones.  The molds all seem solid with no significant casting issues, though I think at least some of the drones (particularly the ones with integral bases) are older figures and could use a resculpt.  There was some talk of a subsequent Kickstarter to fund more robots, which I would love to see.

I hope this first look at the Salvage Crew figures has been informative, and perhaps given a better view of what the figures look like.  The Kickstarter fulfillment is underway, so the figures should be available for retail purchase in the coming months.  If you need any figures for a cyberpunk or dystopian sci-fi setting, I would highly recommend checking out the Salvage Crew figures.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Salvage Crew Miniatures: First Look (Part 1)

Today I received a package of Salvage Crew figures from the recent Kickstarter by Johnny Borg Castings.  I've been looking forward to them for no particular reason; they're not for any particular game that I'm playing.  Perhaps it's just having something different to paint, particularly figures that are cyberpunk/dystopian sci-fi reminiscent of Necromunda.

Since this is a less well-known effort compared to the larger names in the business, I wanted to provide some pictures of the figures as they arrived.  In general, I'm very happy with them and look forward to getting them cleaned up and painted.  The figures came bagged into five-man sets; I've shown them below in the same groupings.  Since the figures aren't named, I've provided the codes for reference (from the Salvage Crew Character Artwork PDF).  All of the figure below came with round plastic bases, as well (which aren't shown, because they're pretty standard).

SC17 through SC21

(Clockwise from Top-Left):  SC17, SC18, SC19, SC20, SC21

This bunch is very heavily armed, and several of the figures have explosives.  SC18 (the girl with the gun extended) is odd, as she is the only one who is wearing what appears to be a form of powered armor (though in a style that I would call "80s B-movie" [and I mean that in the most positive way possible!]).  The other figures would function well as well-armed mercenaries or veteran soldiers.  The mold quality on these figures is great; the mold lines are hard to notice and should clean up easily.

SC22 through SC26

(Clockwise from Top-Left):  SC24, SC22, SC26, SC23, SC25

This set seems a little more eclectic, and has less of a "paramilitary" feel.  SC24 is clearly in a form of powered armor, perhaps adapted from some futuristic sport or gladiator arena.  SC22 is something of a stand-in for Johnny Borg himself; unfortunately, my copy of this figure has some fairly heavy mold lines to clean up (almost a miscast, but not quite that bad).  The other figures are quite clean, however.  SC23 comes off as higher-tech than most of the figures, likely due to the sleeker lines on her armor and pistols.  SC26 is a great figure and would serve well for any kind of mechanic, salvager, or technician.

SC27 through SC31

(Clockwise from Top-Left):  SC31, SC29, SC27, SC30, SC28

These figures are clearly part of an organized police, security, or military force.  They're all wearing body armor and armed similarly.  The bottom three (SC27, SC28, and SC30) would be excellent grunts in multiples, as they really lack identifying characteristics on the figures themselves (so much so that I may have SC27 and SC30 mixed up).  The molds on these figures are all clean, as well.

SC32 through SC36

(Clockwise from Top-Left):  SC33, SC35, SC32, SC34, SC36

The final set of five, and possibly the strangest.  If the sets are supposed to be themed, then I have no idea what this one was going for.  SC32 comes off as a punk ganger.  SC36 is a sniper (and looks like she might fit in with the first set).  SC34 is wearing heavy sealed armor and carrying what looks like a long-barreled shotgun.  SC33 is wearing what appears to be bondage gear and carrying an oversized belt-fed SMG (seriously, she shouldn't be one-handing this thing).  Finally, SC32 is carrying dual pistols and a sword.  Like I said, it's an odd set!  The molds are all pretty clean on these figures.


That's it for the 20 Salvage Crew figures from the Kickstarter.  As I said, I really like the figures and think they turned out great.  I'll make another post to cover the bonus robots that were included as stretch goals during the campaign.  Once the figures are cleaned up they'll fall into my painting rotation, so expect to see them in future posts!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Reaper Bones: Lizardman Spearman, Lizardman Warrior

This week on Monday Miniatures the figure is 77155 Lizardman Warrior.  I completed this figure back in May along with 77154 Lizardman Spearman (which was last week's Monday Miniature), but I wanted to showcase them again now that they've come up in the figure rotation.

The Lizardman Spearman was painted as Whiplash from the Masters of the Universe, for use with Malek-Skeletor's Evil Warriors.  Still, I wanted to be able to use the lizardmen together if the need arose, so I kept the same style between the two figures.

There is still one more lizardman from Bones I (77050 Lizardman Warrior from the New 30 set) that I need to paint up, and I plan to paint him similar to the ones here.  Look for him in the coming weeks!

Next week's figure is 77161 Ghost King from the Grave Danger set.

- M:M

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Reaper Bones: Townsfolk: Grandmother

This week I finished up the Townsfolk I set with 77088 Townsfolk: Grandmother from the Bones I Kickstarter.

I know what you're thinking - she doesn't look very grandmotherly!  Well, keep in mind that in a medieval settings (fantasy or no), people married and had kids young, so she's probably only 30 or so.  :-P

Joking aside, the figure itself didn't seem to scream out "grandmother", so I painted it up as a more middle-aged villager to give it greater utility.  I decided to go with autumn colors, and make her sweeping up a pile of leaves (it seemed fitting).

The dress was painted orange, and appears way more intense in the photos above than it does in person.  I had some difficulty figuring out what all was part of her smock/apron, as it appeared to wrap around the sides as well as over the head.  I painted her bonnet red to give her a little more color.

Her skin was painted using a base mix of Reaper Tanned Skin and Vallejo Gory Red, and then highlighted up further with Tanned Skin.  I really like Reaper's flesh colors, and the results here surprised me with how well they turned out!

The pile of leaves was made by gluing oregano in layers.  Once done, it was painted with orange, red, and brown.  I like the general look of the effect, though I had problems getting the color right as it kept competing with the dress.

Conclusion:  I'm surprised at how well this figure turned out, especially the skin and eyes.  The figure has large eyes which were easy to paint, so if you're still new to painting eyes this is a good figure to give it a try.  The orange turned out pretty nicely on the dress, though thankfully it's not as bright on the figure as in the pictures above.  Finally, I think the leaves might have looked better if they were shifted further toward either brown or yellow, to help differentiate them from the dress.

I plan to go back to working on the New 30 set, though a couple of the Grave Danger set are coming up for Monday Miniatures so I may get a head start on them.

Until next time!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reaper Dark Heaven: Murkillor, Wraith King

Another of my old Reaper Dark Heaven figures has been completed:  02103 Murkillor, Wraith King.

I loved Reaper's take on wraiths when I first saw them several many years ago.  The way they're sculpted to be "empty" robes and "floating" weapons is great, and really gives the figure an ethereal quality.

Looking at the figure, I knew I wanted to attempt object source lighting (OSL) with the flame sword.  It's such a large focal point for the figure that it deserved the attempt, and I figured the robes would be easier to attempt OSL than more complicated surfaces.  I thought that a spectral green would be a much better choice than typical red/orange flames, and help sell the "unnaturalness" of the figure.

The robe was painted with medium gray, mixed with varying amounts of black.  I used a slightly lightened black for the iron crown upon his head.  In retrospect, I think it could have used more attention, but I wasn't sure how to maintain an "iron" look without over-lightening the color.

The flame sword was painted with a combination of light, intense greens, mixed with an intense yellow.  I then followed up with Reaper MSP Clear Green to strengthen the green tint.  The reflections are painted with the same color, lightened slightly with bone white.

Conclusion:  I'm really happy with how the piece turned out.  I'm not experienced with OSL and I'm still learning, and I do think my attempt sells the effect for the figure (and makes it much more striking than if I had simply painted the sword and left it at that).  Next time I'm going to work on lightening the reflected light a little more, as it's still a little too intense on the figure (the reflected light should not be as strong as the light source, in this case the sword).

My next couple of figures will most likely be Bones, as I want to make further progress there before Bones II ships and hopefully finish off a few more sets.

Until next time!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Reaper Dark Heaven: Arachno Assassin Champion

Another Reaper Dark Heaven figure from my archives has been completed!  Here is 02192 Arachno Assassin Champion, complete with obscene gesture!

I loved the Arachno Assassins when I first saw them so many years ago.  I've always been keen on the undead, and these were something new and different (and significantly deadlier than common skeletons).  It's not surprising then that the character models for the Arachno Assassins are even better!  I can't vouch for the effectiveness of a double-ended scythe, but it definitely looks intimidating.  The fact that he's flipping a bird to his opponent is great, and sort of reminds me of Army of Darkness.

The figure has a relatively limited palette, but at the same time there's not a lot of equipment to warrant a lot of variety.  I worked on using warm and cool tones for the bones, and I really like the effect.  I went with a bronze look for his armor to avoid too much silver on the figure (and give some variety with the metals).  I also think bronze tends to imply a little more age, befitting a long-dead warrior.  Though I'm not sure Arachno Assassins are typical undead, so that logic may fall through somewhat....

Conclusion:  I'm very pleased with how this figure turned out, especially the bones.  In retrospect, I think I probably should have painted the loincloth black rather than brown, just to help differentiate it from the base a little more.

I have a few other Arachno Assassin models in my collection, so expect them to show up in the future.

Until next time!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Reaper Dark Heaven: Komray, Dogs of War

Yesterday I finished up another figure from my Reaper Dark Heaven archives:  02079 Komray, Dogs of War.  Technically, I think it would be "Komray AND the Dogs of War", but limited space on the package and all....


Komray is the handler of Reaper War's Dogs of Atonement.  I painted the original Reaper War several years ago in a black and red color scheme, and I thought that was appropriate to use for War's minion, Komray.  I went with a bronze choice for the metal elements, as I think it pairs well with the red/black theme and is perhaps slightly more sinister than silver.

I couldn't decide if the draped skin was supposed to be a lion or a dog (perhaps one of the fallen Dogs of War).  I knew the figure would probably have a significant amount of brown as-is, so I opted for a more golden tone than that of a reddish-brown fur that would match the Dogs of War.  While it does keep it from being overwhelmingly brown, I think reddish-brown might have been a better choice to tie the figure in more closely with the dogs.

Dogs of War

The Dogs of War are zombified dogs, though they didn't really have much in the way of exposed inner organs, muscles, etc.  Interestingly, all three dogs are separate sculpts, which I appreciate for the variety.  I went with a reddish-brown fur, to tie in with the reds on Komray (as well as the exposed viscera).  I highlighted the bones more than I usually do on undead, and I like how it turned out.  Normally I'm leery of doing that, as it can make the bones look too "clean", which doesn't make necessarily make sense on an undead creature (it's not like they groom themselves).  Another interesting item is that the collars on all three dogs are different (which was unexpected).  Finally, the red eyes turned out nicely and give the dogs an even more menacing look.

Conclusion:  I like how this figure turned out, especially since I didn't have a strong idea of how I wanted it painted when I started the figure.  The only part I would change is Komray's cloak, to make it match the fur on the dogs.  This is the first time I've painted several figures in tandem in quite a while (since the Pathfinder Goblins, I think), so it was nice to be able to bounce between different figures as I went.

The next figure from my Dark Heaven archives is likely to be another undead figure, as I have several.

Until next time!