Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wet Palette

If you can't tell from the Blog Archive - I've been away from the miniature painting endeavor for quite awhile - I started in 1999 when I ran across a Games Workshop store at the outlet mall and 2004 was the last big year - just before Matthew was born along with some life changing career events.

During that time away, something called a wet palette was introduced to the painting community. I had no idea about it until I made a recent visit to a meeting with the DCAreaMiniPaintingClub - a group that I was a charter member of back in the summer of 2001. It was great to see long time ago friends as well as new faces - in addition, one of the things everyone was painting with was a wet palette.

A wet palette has to be the simplest brainy idea ever for miniature painting. The idea is this - add moisture to the paint at the same rate as evaporation through a process called osmosis. The theory is easy to put into practice - water, a sponge or paper towel, and parchment paper. The water travels up the sponge/paper towel and then slowly into the parchment paper which acts like a membrane between the paint and the water. The parchment paper draws water into the paint at about the same rate as the process of evaporation.

So here's my wet palette...

I simply took my plastic paint tray and folded up a paper towel into a square until it fit into the center of the plastic paint tray. Next I poured water over the paper towel until fully saturated. Finally I cut out a square piece of parchment paper and laid that over the top. Somewhere I read its best to get the parchment paper wet - so I rubbed some water into the parchment paper on both sides prior to throwing it on top of the wet paper towel.

To try it out I threw a little bit of Reaper's Cloudy Sea paint on the paper - I did two sections - one drop that I didn't use and one drop that I threw some Chaos Black into. Added a drop of water to each and prepped them as I would have so they flow. Then I grabbed a model of a dark elf from Reaper and painted away using the mixed paint.

It was awesome! The paint stayed fluid the entire time - I was able to use far less paint, had far more control, and it didn't "chalk" up on my model (ie - stayed smooth) or cause the tip of the brush to dry out. I worked with fluid paint during the entire paint session of basecoating the mix onto the mini. When I finished, I checked the drop which I hadn't used - it was like I first laid it onto the palette - totally fluid and usable paint.

For giggles, I took the parchment paper off the soaked paper towel - lasted about five minutes before completely drying.

We'll see how my next few miniatures turn out - but I'm predicting that this is a game changer that will allow me to kick my painting up a notch.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Citadel Stage 3 Fighter - ADD02

This miniature I found in a bag of old minis that I won off e-bay years ago. It's the third stage of a fighter produced by Citadel circa 1985 for the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game (ADD02). I'm quite surprised with the level of detail on this miniature - a great sculpt compared to anything else of the era. Also, very noticeable is the size difference - from toe to top of helmet is 25mm which makes him look short and squatty compared to all of my "modern" figs.

Each pack came with three stages and I've actually found that I do have the first two stages as well in that bag of old minis. The first stage shows the fighter with simple chain mail and not much "stuff". The second stage with half plate and a bit more garnishment. The final stage shown here with full plate mail and all of his goodies fully expanded. This mini has a helmet plume, a stuffed backpack, a mace, a sword, an axe, and a dagger.

None of the minis in my bag had shields - so I found a metal shield in my bits bin and tagged that on. Additionally, the originals came on an octagonal slotta base - I don't have any of those, so I threw him on a one inch square slotta base instead. I'll eventually get around to painting the other two and thereby complete the series.

Often when I paint I have a purpose in mind - in this case I wanted to do an old school paintjob - primary colors, wash, then highlight in a short timeframe. I like the results and the painting was done in a single session which is even better.

Painting Instructions for Stage 3 Fighter:

Step 01: Undercoat model with Black primer
Step 02: Use Boltgun Metal on all metal bits - armor, sword, etc. - except:
Step 03: Use Reaper's Blue Steel on mace
Step 04: Use Reaper's Green Steel on axe head
Step 05: Use Brazen Brass on sword hilt and dagger hilt
Step 06: Use Snakebite Leather on all leather bits
Step 07: Use Regal Blue on helmet plume
Step 08: Use Enchanted Blue on helmet plume
Step 09: Use Enchanted Blue on shield
Step 10: Use Bestial Brown on back of shield and on axe handle
Step 11: Use Skull White on shield cross
Step 12: Use Bronzed Flesh on face
Step 13: Wash entire figure with Devlan Mud
Step 14: Drybrush Lightning Blue on helmet plume
Step 15: Use Chainmail for metal highlights
Step 16: Use Bubonic Brown for leather highlights
Step 17: Use Elf Flesh for face highlights
Step 18: Drybrush Codex Grey on base
Step 19: Drybrush Fortress Grey on base
Step 20: Drybrush Skull White on base for final highlights

Monday, January 03, 2011

Chainmail Human Templar - 1288888001

Happy New Year! The first miniature of 2011 is from the Dungeons and Dragons Chainmail miniatures game produced by Wizards of the Coast circa 2002. I picked up a bunch of these off the discount rack for $2.00 each from the local hobby store. Most of the Chainmail miniatures have an interesting and dynamic pose, but the castings themselves are rather rough and most come in a number of pieces that need to be crafted together with significant gap filling. The Human Templar was the only one of the lot which was cast whole.

As can be plainly seen in the pictures above, the photos of the miniature have gone through a new process of using the digital macro mode of my Canon PowerShot SD1000 by placing the miniature on a black sheet of paper which sits on top of aluminum foil (removes most of the top down shadows) and covering the photoshoot with a white paper towel to act as a light filter. The photos are then placed into the Gimp software where they've been outlined, cut, and pasted onto a gradient blue background. The whole process is fairly quick.

I named this one Jacques as this is a Human Templar and Jacques de Molay was the final Grand Master (1292-1314) of the Knights Templar and infamously burnt on the stake.

Painting Instructions for Human Templar:

Step 01: Undercoat model with Black Primer
Step 02: Use Dark Flesh on face
Step 03: Use Bronzed Flesh on face
Step 04: Wash face with Ogryn Flesh
Step 05: Use Elf Flesh on face highlights
Step 06: Use Skull White on teeth
Step 07: Use Tentacle Pink on tongue
Step 08: Use Scorched Brown on all leather bits
Step 09: Use Bestial Brown on all leather bits
Step 10: Use Snakebite Leather for all leather bits highlights
Step 11: Use Bubonic Brown as final highlight on all leather bits
Step 12: Wash all leather bits with Devlan Mud
Step 13: Use Boltgun Metal on all armor and sword
Step 14: Wash each rivet with Devlan Mud to build a dark base
Step 15: Use Chainmail on each rivet as highlight
Step 16: Use Chainmail as highlight on armor and sword
Step 17: Use Brazen Brass on sword hilt and helmet trim
Step 18: Wash Brazen Brass bits with Ogryn Flesh
Step 19: Use mix of Dwarf Bronze and Chainmail as highlights on Brazen Brass bits
Step 20: Use Enchanted Blue on cloth belt
Step 21: Wash cloth belt with Asurmen Blue
Step 22: Use Lightning Blue on cloth belt
Step 23: Wash cloth belt with Asurmen Blue
Step 24: Re-highlight cloth belt with Lightning Blue
Step 25: Use Bubonic Brown on pants and shirt
Step 26: Wash pants and shirt with Devlan Mud
Step 27: Highlight pants and shirt with Bubonic Brown
Step 28: Use mix of Bleached Bone with Bubonic Brown on pants and shirt
Step 29: Use Bleached Bone for final highlight on pants and shirt
Step 30: Use Shadow Grey to highlight scabbard
Step 31: Drybrush Codex Grey on base
Step 32: Drybrush Fortress Grey on base
Step 33: Drybrush Skull White on base