Monday, December 29, 2014

Salvage Crew Saga: SC21 Rapidfire

The next figure in the Salvage Crew Saga has been completed:  SC21.  It seems the catalog shows the figure as SC19, but the web store lists it as SC21, so that's the one I'm going with.  This figure has a cybernetic eye and arm, and is wielding what seems to be a light machine gun.

The random color generator results for this figure were orange (2), purple (6), and red (1).

SC21 - Codename: Rapidfire

Subject served in the security forces of the Zhukov Consortium, and was involved in heavy fighting in the Gamma Rhada system.  Rapidfire was critically wounded in action, and was supplemented with combat cybernetics.  While still serving part-time with the Zhukov Consortium, Rapidfire supplements this with income from freelance jobs in an effort to pay off the expensive debts incurred by his cybernetics.  His implants allow him to more easily wield heavy weapons, and his cyber-eye assists with target acquisition and range-finding.

I liked the look of this figure, and decided to paint it next to mark the 1/4 point for the Salvage Crew figures.  The colors rolled were fairly complementary, so I was definitely looking forward to how it would turn out.

The figure was painted primarily with VGC colors Royal Purple (pants), Gory Red (LMG), Scarlett Red (vest), and Orange Fire (shirt).  Coal Black and Cold Grey were used to alter the tones of the colors, as well as for the boots, kneepads, LMG, belt pouch, and the cybernetics.  The skin was a combination of Reaper MSP Tanned Skin and Rosy Skin, and the hair was VGC Wolf Grey.  Several TAP inks were used as well:  Soft Tone, Dark Tone, Red Tone, and Purple Tone.  Reaper MSP Brown Liner was used for additional definition in a few areas.

Conclusion:  I think the figure turned out amazingly well!  The colors worked well together, and I managed to get the red on the gun to really stand out.  It goes to show how powerful washes/inks can be, as the base colors for the LMG and the vest were not that far apart.  Even with highlighting, the purple on the pants is hard to make out in the photos and kind of blends into the black boots.  I also went back and touched up the hair so it didn't look so brown on the sides (particularly in pictures 1 and 4).

The next figure in the Salvage Crew Saga will be SC32, male fighter with two pistols and sword.

- M:M

Reaper Bones: Lizardman Warrior

After sitting on my desk for a couple weeks, I finally managed to finish the third and final lizardman from Bones I (this one from the New 30 set):  77050 Lizardman Warrior.

The sculpt was very clean, and is a fairly stiff mold.  Thankfully, the spear holds its shape well.  While similar to the lizardmen in the Swamp Things set (which I painted way back in May), this figure is by a different sculptor and has a slightly different look to it.  Still, I decided to paint it in a similar fashion so that the lizardmen figures could be used together as part of the same tribe.

For the body, I used a wetblend of VGC Camouflage Green and Yellow Olive, similar to the other lizardmen.  I tried to created a more natural transition on this figure, rather than matching that of an action figure.  Likewise, I still used VGC Orange Fire for the wood on the spear, but I toned it down a bit using VGC Earth and subsequent washes of TAP Strong Tone Ink.  The leather straps and bracers were painted with VGC Earth, as was the base.  I used VGC Plague Brown for the shield, with several heavy washes of Strong Tone Ink.  I don't think the effect is quite as attractive as the previous lizardman warrior's shield, but the washes did give it some good definition.

Conclusion:  I think the transitions (and the colors in general) came out much better on this figure compared to the previous lizardmen.  I really like how the skin turned out, though the orange spear could use mroe definition on the wood shaft.  Overall I think the shading turned out very nicely, and I'm really like the Army Painter inks for that.

- M:M

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Reaper Bones: Dain Deepaxe

In the spirit of Christmas, this week on Monday Miniatures is the pseudo-Santa dwarf figure:  77074 Dain Deepaxe.

The figure is solid, with pretty good transition of details from metal to Bonesium (though some of the details are a little hard to make out).  The shield arm is actually a second piece which was glued on at the factory, though removing it would probably make painting the figure a little easier.  Some of the mold lines were difficult to get to due to the figure's sculpt, but it did not require huge amounts of cleanup.

In the spirit of Christmas, I decided to go with green for the primary color on the clothing and shield, and red/orange for the beard.  The various metal details were painted metallic gold, while the steel portions (such as the armor and axe blade) were painted in grays.  Various browns were used for the pants, boots, gloves, and accessories.

Conclusion:  I really like how the figure turned out.  The green and gold color scheme works really well, and I like the varieties of brown I was able to achieve.  The design on the shield could probably use a final coat of metallic gold (it looks a little thin in some places), and I could have spent more time on the NMM for the axe blade.  I think the beard turned out nicely, and has a little variety in it which keeps it from appearing as an intense orange blob.

I spent quite a bit of time on this figure, both because I felt it had a lot of potential, but also because this is the final figure for Monday Miniatures this year!  It's hard to believe I've been doing this for over a year, but looking back I've made a huge amount of progress in my Bones collection.  When I got my order of Bones from the first Kickstarter, I was just getting back into the hobby and felt I would be doing good to do a couple of figures a month!  At last count, I'm just over 160 Bones figures painted, and that doesn't include all the other figures I've painted as well.

Monday Miniatures is taking a break next week due to the holidays, and will be back the week of January 5th with 77066 Shaeress Nashanneth, Dark Elf Queen.  Until then, enjoy the holidays and I look forward to seeing you next year as we continue with Bones I and start on Bones II!

- M:M

Relic Knights: [Doctrine] Librarian

This marks the first of my Relic Knights figures to be painted:  the Librarian from the Doctrine faction.

If you're not familiar, Relic Knights is a game by Soda Pop Miniatures which is very heavily anime/manga-inspired.  While I'm not generally into that sort of thing, the figures were intriguing and offered a very different subject matter than I'm used to.  The game itself is fast paced and seems to capture the style very well.  The game and figures were funded via Kickstarter, and while I wasn't a backer during the campaign, I did pick up some figures after the fact.  I'm not sure how frequently they'll be working into my painting schedule, but when they do I'll be sure to share my results.

I used the art from the Relic Knights: Darkspace Calamity (the game's rule book) as inspiration for the figure, which differs a bit from the painted examples and tends to feature a lot of browns.  I used a lot of mixes to try to match the colors in the art, and focused on keeping the lines clean to help sell the style.  Note that the base is temporary, and the figure will be re-based in the future.

Conclusion:  I think the figure turned out great!  The freehand tattoos aren't something I do (ever, really), and the fact that they're basic shapes really helped.  The gems turned out nicely, though the large one on the back was the most challenging due to the sheer size.  It's hard to get the typical "gem effect" to work at that scale, it seems.  Some areas to work on are further highlights for the pants and boots, and further differentiating the belt from the pants.

- M:M

Reaper Bones: Grave Wraith

This weekend I finished up the last of the Haunts set with 77097 Grave Wraith.

I really liked this sculpt and had been looking forward to completing it (and the Haunts set) for several weeks.  However, my disappointing results with the last couple of figures in the Haunts set put me off of proceeding with this figure.  It's extremely difficult to paint the figure while preserving the translucent nature.  This figure require very little cleanup, and is much more rigid than typical Bones figures.

The green areas were painted primarily with VGC Goblin Green, taking care to keep the color only on upper or highlight surfaces, and leaving the recesses untouched.  The goal was to give some variation so the details could be seen, while not completely covering the translucent plastic.  The base was painted with VGC Charred Brown, and the gravestone and sword both painted with VGC Cold Grey.  Army Painter inks were used to wash the sword, gravestone, base, and inside the wraith's hood.

Conclusion:  Given how the last figure in this set turned out, I'm much happier with my results this time.  The figure still looks a little odd in some light (as the paint skews the translucency), but in person it has a neat mix of solid and translucent portions.  I'm also pleased with how the sword and gravestone turned out; nothing epic, but solid pieces with some smooth color transitions.

- M:M

Friday, December 19, 2014

Salvage Crew Saga: SC17 Bull-Rush

Today I finished the fourth of the Salvage Crew figures, SC17.  Aside from being a fat guy, he is clearly a close-ranged fighter with a short "shotgun pistol" and bundle of explosives.

The "random color assignment" results were green (4), blue (5), and yellow (3).

SC17 - Codename: Bull-Rush

Subject served in security forces during the Northbeam-Microfarer Conflict in Delta Herculis.  Bull-Rush received training in explosives and demolitions, and gained a reputation (and his codename) for his aptitude with close quarters combat and rushing enemy locations.  Following the drawdown of corporate security forces following the conflict, subject shifted to freelance work.  Bull-Rush has since been hired out by various salvage operations to assist with breaching old wrecks and using his expertise with explosives to dismantle valuable salvage for retrieval.

I think I got a good selection of colors for this figure, and didn't have to try to incorporate some odd combination.  If ever a figure screamed "not purple", this would be the one!

The figure was primarily painted with VGC Camouflage Green (pants), VGC Stormy Blue (vest), and VGC Plague Brown (undershirt).  VGC Charred Brown was used for the boots, belts, and pouches, and VGC Cold Grey for the pistol.  The beard is a mix of Charred Brown and Plague Brown, to give it a little variety from the other brown parts.  The dynamite was a combination of VGC Bloody Red and Charred Brown.  Army Painter inks were used for shading and tinting.

Conclusion:  I was looking forward to doing this figure, and I like how it turned out.  I think the color choices are pretty sensible, and I really like how both the skin and the eyes turned out!

The next figure in the Salvage Crew Saga will be SC19, cyborg machine gunner.

- M:M

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reaper Bones: Deladrin, Female Assassin

For whatever reason, this has seemed like a long week (probably due to the holidays).  Most of my painting time was spent on a regiment of 20 Goblin Spitters from Mantic's Kings of War line (almost complete; look for them in a future post).  Goblins aside, I managed to complete another figure for the Monday Miniatures challenge:  77035 Deladrin, Female Assassin from the New 30 set.

I found this to be a very clean figure with minimal mold lines.  I really like the sculpt, so I was happy to find that this one turned out very nicely in Bones.  The blades have a decent thickness and were rigid enough to retain their position.

Upon examining the figure, I was immediately reminded of the Dark Brotherhood from the game Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which is an assassins guild and cult rolled into one.  I decided to use their black and red color scheme, coupled with some grays to provide some variety.  I decided to work on my non-metallic metal (NMM) with the blades, and I'm very pleased at the level of blending I was able to achieve.  I think I still need to go even lighter for the "lights", but I feel that the blade isn't overly dark as my previous attempts at NMM.

Conclusion:  I'm very pleased with how this figure turned out, both the quality of the sculpt and my paint job.  Aside from continuing to work on my NMM as mentioned above, I would liked to have better differentiated between the black hair and the black cloak.  As it stands, they kind of run together, and I couldn't think of a way to offset one without making it look gray.  Still, I like the level of quality I was able to achieve on this figure!

Next weeks' figure is 77074 Dain Deepaxe from the Dwarves set, which I think will be the first dwarf from the Bones I set that we will paint.

- M:M

Monday, December 8, 2014

Salvage Crew Saga: SC36 Crosshair

The third figure completed as part of the Salvage Crew Saga is SC36, who is clearly a sniper/sharpshooter.  This figure is pretty straightforward without a lot of extra kit, but I think that works for the role it's designed for.

The "random color assignment" results were orange (2), green (4), and purple (6).

SC36 - Codename: Crosshair

Subject grew up in the reclamation zone colonies of Lambda Delphini IV, before attempts to sanitize the toxic waste dumps were abandoned.  While the colonists were issued adequate protective gear and supplies, the toxicity of the environment required a constant mindfulness when outside the habi-domes.  Mutated wildlife was a constant plague on the settlements, and this is where the subject's superior sharpshooting skills were developed.  Once the reclamation colony was abandoned, the subject found ready work as a salvager, specializing in toxic environments and perimeter security.  Crosshair's equipment is all designed to function in highly toxic conditions, far beyond the failure point of standard gear.

I rolled up an eclectic mix of colors for this figure, and decided to go with a more striking scheme.  The bodysuit was painted with VGC Scrofulous Brown, and the armor pads were painted with VGC Royal Purple.  I didn't want a saturated green (which I thought might be too much), so I toned down VGC Jade Green with VGC Cold Grey.  Army Painter inks were used to help with shading.

Conclusion:  The figured turned out pretty good, especially considering the colors I rolled up for her (I really like the teal green color I came across, in particular).  The figure really didn't have any particular theme going aside from "sniper", so I didn't have much of a plan going into it.  The final results kind of remind me of G.I. Joe Eco-Warriors, which inspired my backstory for the character.

Next up in the Salvage Crew Saga is SC17, fat man with dynamite.

- M:M

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Reaper Bones: Arrius the Black, Skeletal Warrior

We're back to Monday Miniatures with another figure from the Grave Danger set:  77158 Arrius the Black, Skeletal Warrior.

This figure turned out quite good with the transition to Bones.  The mold lines weren't too bad, and the details on the shield and sword came through.  The figure functions well for a high-level skeletal warrior or commander.

I painted Arrius primarily in black and grays, as I wanted him to have black armor befitting his name.  I went with bronze for the detailing, though in the pictures above it looks closer to gold.  His cloak was painted with Reaper MSP Christmas Wreath, which I got last year during the Twelve Days of Reaper promotion (which is currently running this year, if you're looking to pick up some miniatures).  I also practiced my non-metallic metal (NMM) on his sword.

Conclusion:  I like the figure, and I think I did a fairly good job with it.  The highlights on the cloak came out a bit lighter than intended, even after toning them down with a glaze of green ink.  I think I'm still trending too dark on my NMM, but I'm happier with the smoother transition that I achieved on this figure.

Next week's figure is still TBD.  As soon as it's posted on Caffeineforge, I'll be sure to add it here!

- M:M

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Reaper CAV: Ace Core Group

This week I received the Ace Core Group from Reaper's recent CAV Kickstarter.  The goal of the Kickstarter was to fund the transition of several CAV miniatures from metal to Bones.  While I'm not hugely into "mech combat", I did enjoy BattleTech back in my youth and thought the figures would be a nice change of pace to paint even if I never got to try the CAV game.

As with any Bones figures, the first step is a quick boil-and-freeze cycle to help reset the figures to their natural pose and straighten any bent parts.

CAV Bones drying out after boiling and freezing
Overall I think the figures saw less warping than those from Bones I.  I assume this is most likely due to the CAV miniatures being bulkier and having relatively few parts (aside from gun barrels) that are likely to get bent from storage.

Note that the figures shown below have been glued to Reaper's new hex bases, but otherwise the miniatures are dry fit and have not had any mold lines cleaned up.

94001 Tiamat

The Tiamat is absolutely massive; even having seen the comparison shots during the KS, it surprised me just how large the large CAVs are.  This mech has startling number of missiles, but that's it - no guns.  Seems like it's good for fire support, so long as it can stay out of danger.

94002 Halberd

The Halberd might be my favorite design from the Ace Core Group; it sort of reminds me of the old Rifleman design from BattleTech.  It looks solid and has some nice weapons mounted.  Surprisingly, the antenna straightened out when boiling, and didn't need to be manually adjusted.

94003 Razor

The Razor is clearly a recon or fast attack unit and has a nice, sleek look.  It's the smallest CAV of the Ace Core Group.

94004 Assassin

The Assassin is another attack CAV, and is well armed for that purpose.  The different missile pods are a bit odd (perhaps different types of missiles?), but they do give it some added visual interest.

94005 Dictator

The Dictator seems to be the mascot of CAV, as it is the unit depicted in a lot of the art.  The bulbous center body and cockpit remind me of the Mad Cat from BattleTech, though I think the Dictator has a beefier build.

94006 Specter

The Specter is my other choice for favorite design of the Ace Core Group; tons of missiles on a compact frame.  It needed so many missiles, they had to strap an additional launcher on top!  Speaking of, when I put the figure together for pictures I accidentally attached the missile pod backwards.  If you're assembling these figures, note that one side of the pod has the missiles showing, and this should go toward the front.

94007 Wight

The Wight is another massive CAV, and unfortunately the "mid-stride" pose made it the hardest to base.  Of all the figures, the Wight was the one with the most warping issues.  The arms have both a long barrel and a missile pod that's only attached at one side.

94008 Cougar
The Cougar is the second-smallest CAV of the Ace Core Group, and is another recon unit.  I like the squat, stout build, as it looks like it is a little more survivable than the Razor.

That's it for the Ace Core Group!  Hopefully this will give you a better idea of what the CAV units look like and how well they transitioned to Bones.  I think the harder edges from mechanical CAVs generally does a better job of holding details in Bones, and there appears to be very little clean up required for mold lines.

Since I don't anticipate playing CAV in the near future, I'll probably add these into my regular rotation of figures whenever I'm looking for a change of pace (or if I'm suddenly inspired).  I think they'll offer an opportunity to try out various camouflage patterns, which is something I have very little practice with.

Let me know if you have any questions about the units in the CAV Ace Core Group.  If you're looking to play the game, what faction will be your primary?

- M:M