Drone WIP 1

These blog posts will more or less follow the WIP thread I’m posting at the Studio McVey forums, I’ll try to keep them edited to some form of sensibility. One thing I forgot to note – the wash pictures are shiny, as the wash hadn’t fully dried yet.


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Assembly. A bit of mold line to deal with, but not bad at all. Very rusty with the xacto, so I did nick a few spots, I think this drone might get practice for a wound on his arm…

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After that I glued him into the slottabase and instantly didn’t like it, my aversion to slottabase took hold. I went into the garage, grabbed a hacksaw and off goes the tab! A bit of filing of the soles (A bit of filing is good for the soul, my mother always said, but she’s a secretary). Then I got to try out my brand new pin vise! Found a bit that fit a paper clip I had lying around, a bit of drill, glue and snip later and the Drone was mounted on stilts. Popped him on a cork and primed him with Army Painter white primer. Of course, not feeling the greatest yesterday I forgot to photodocument all this.

I mixed up some wash per Ali’s post. Throwing in a hint of Les’ wash recipe, I used (10:1 distilled water:flow-aid)+matte medium mixed 1:1 with two drops black and one drop brown. I then went over the hard spots/boots/etc but it seemed a bit subtle. So in a bit of haste I added another drop of black, it may have been a bit too much.

So here’s the Drone pinned, mounted, primed and washed:

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I also missed an assembly detail, forgot to connect the hose from the gun to the backpack! So /after/ priming, I maneuvered it more or less into position and glued it in there, which accounts for the poor adhesion of the wash around that join. Hopefully it will be easy to fix later.

A final note – This was the inaugural duty of my new W&N 7 #2 brush. I was skeptical as I’ve always used 5/0 as my main brush. As soon as I opened the package and saw the pinpoint at the end of the bristles, I had a serious grin. Love the way the reservoir holds the paint. I’m a big brush convert and I haven’t even begun actually painting!

Catching up

Well, you know how blogs go. Typical. So, here’s the wrap-up to my last post, a montage image of the finished gnoll. Technically my “first” mini, of this new era of painting, anyway.

Cribbing notes from a forum post, so they might not make sense in this order!

I had begun painting him more or less like the old ones, but with better color selections. Then I looked at some AD&D gnoll pics, saw one drawn like a hyena and spent some time looking over hyena pics. Gave him more of a yellowish cast and some spots/dark muzzle. Just those little tweaks, poorly executed as they are, got me excited again. Especially when I consider the older gnolls I’m comparing him to were more like the fourth or fifth I painted back in the 90s, so hopefully this time I’ll jump a couple minis ahead in skill vs my old minis, at least until I catch up to those space wolves I posted (my last few paintjobs in the 90s).

Got in a session last night. I think one more session will finish this gnoll.

Took a while just touching up from the skin, and doing the leather bits. All I have left is the scale mail highlights, eyes and mouth, jewelry, base and digging up the weapon sprue from somewhere (so maybe two sessions if I go with a shield).

As I said, still trying to remind myself this is my first mini in over a decade. The skin turned out cool with the hyena effect, but a last minute wash lost some of the shadowing (I think it just needed a bit more thinning). The blending on the leather ended up pretty bad, but I decided I’m not going to bother fixing it. It’s fairly messy and for some reason I missed on glaring dark wash water mark on the leg from washing the boot (I might fix that with a line of flesh tone, but it might make it worse).

The leather shading wash was too dark or I needed to work up from darker shades after the wash. I’m working on mixing but I’m not real happy with the results, they just tend to be washed out odd colors yet. The leather has very dark recesses and when I was trying to work up the highlights (using a GW mixing chart and GW to Vallejo conversion chart), my nice red leather looks oddly yellow at the last couple shades.

Working on thinning paint, I’m starting to get a better consistency but I think I’m going to move to a flatter palette, I used to use a flat palette and right now I’ve got a rounded one. But with the thinner paint, I’m finding it difficult to hit the sweet spot between overloading and underloading the brush. I’m mostly avoiding having it overloaded to the point where the paint runs into the crevices (happened about four times last night while I worked on thinning, though) but still it usually pools a bit or I get so little I only get a stroke before having to reload. I’m spending more time trying to get the right load on the brush than actually painting 🙂

I’m also struggling with the brushes I got. I bought about ten brushes, a 2, couple 0, couple 2/0 a 3/0, couple 5/0 (my old ‘main’ size) and a couple 10/0 and a 15/0 (all but one are red sable). The smaller brushes have better points but don’t hold crap for paint and I have to keep going back for more. The bigger brushes are exhibiting pretty much every bad point issue I’ve seen (one with a split, one with a bend, I’ve trimmed the two with straggler hairs which are the better brushes I’m mostly using).

All this is making it tough to just practice being accurate, but when the stars align, I have a decent pointed brush with a proper load of paint at the proper consistency, I am actually seeing decent improvement in accuracy.

I chipped the stupid base paint when I took it off the paint pot it was glued to  Ohhhhh, I see. Not exactly a masterpiece, but it looks better in person. Also, a few things here and there really helped me get back into the swing of things a bit and in some ways it’s better than my older stuff. The scale mail in particular looks way sloppier in the photos, ohnoes!

Ok, so there. Now we’re caught back up to modern times!

Ice broken

I pulled the worst mini I could find in the box to chip the ice off my fingers and chop it out of my brain. The downside to that is painting on a blurry amateur cast of inferior metal sucks. So I soldiered through a couple sessions messing around just to get the basic techniques fresh in my mind again, washes and drybrushing and layering (oh my!). I will not be posting the results of this experiment. The eyes, Boo…go for the bug-eyes!

Last night I pulled a decent cast from an old box of gnoll troops. The pose is awful, it’s one of a troop, so very generic. But the casting is better and the metal is good, so the painting experience went much better. Got the base coats done on Anonymous Gnoll #4.

I also had Anonymous Gnoll #1 and #2 looking on, painted somewhen in the 90s. I am heartened by the comparison and excited to start the advanced layers. I’ll compile the pics when I finish him up.

Licking Lead

The reason for this post is two-fold. One, to refute Sheepherder’s assumption that my miniatures are all pewter 🙂

But also, to show the battered survivors of my childhood. The lead miniatures of the late 70s and early 80s. I’m not sure if this is all of them, I just ran through the boxes and grabbed the ones I was sure were that vintage.

About half of the paint jobs are from that era, the other half painted in the 90s. We used to use red bases with a black wash as a rule in my gaming group, I forgot to red base a couple when I painted them in the 90s, but a few (the flesh golem and axeman) are 90s paint jobs with red bases.

We played a lot with them, so they’re pretty beat. Changing from lead to pewter was probably a good idea, the lead was so malleable that everything is dented or dulled. We used giant slabs of plexiglass and grease pencils for laying out maps, at my house I also had a large chalkboard tabletop.

The Desk, v1.0

So, here’s my desk. It’s the one I had when I was a kid, so it’s ancient. How the heck did it survive? The top was refinished once after I moved out of the house at 18, and it desperately needs it again. I hate to lose the jottings I did in the 90s, but it’s pretty grungy after being in storage for ten years. I’m considering adding a larger top and some shelves, I never realized how tiny it was. Need some decent lighting, my old swing-arm is broken, so I grabbed the little guy to fill in for now.

The Desk v1.0

Some scribblings from the late 90s. Working on wing crests, gems and Space Wolves insignia for WH40k marines. Also some shield art, but it never made it to a mini afaik.

Paint scribbles on The Desk v1.0


Hi there. I’m going to use this page as a drop zone for my return to painting miniatures.

Some background: I painted when I was a kid (art major), but I was never very good at painting minis. In the early 90s I gave it another try and was finally getting to a point where I could appreciate my work when my career got going and I left off painting. Certainly didn’t help that almost every local hobby shop went under and I couldn’t find the paints I had always used, since the local Floquil Polly S was bought out by Testors and the fantasy line apparently was dropped in the transition. Blah.

I traded my old dusty M:tG cards to a hobby shop in Syracuse for the complete range of Vallejo Game System paints, got some poor to mediocre brushes from a local craft shop, pulled my old painting desk out of storage. I think I’m ready to paint!

Thanks to IainC and the other painters at f13 for inspiration.