Sunday 30 September 2012

28mm "Super J" Superhero FARA Charity Miniature

This is just a proof that this hobby can bring more than just a way od passing your free time. Sometimes it gives you a chance to actually do something good while having fun. Check out the description of this charity auction and... go ahead and order the mini! It's only $10 and the shipping's free.

This gaming mini was made in the image of our son Jason and his best pal, Snakie. Jason was born with a rare genetic disease called Friedreich's Ataxia. This is a degenerative disease that attacks many areas of the body, including the brain, spinal cord and heart. There is currently no treatment for Friedreich's Ataxia and it is a life-shortening illness, so we're trying to raise money for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA). This organization is our only hope for a cure.

Jason has a quickly advancing case and is losing his ability to walk, see and speak clearly. He also suffers from heart disease and skeletal problems. Since there is currently no treatment for Friedreich's Ataxia, raising money for FARA is really our only recourse. Jason is a happy boy enjoying a great childhood and we want him in our lives as long as possible! As many of you know that I use to run What The?! Miniatures and it was with my son's diagnosis that led me to sell it off so that I could better make him more comfortable. Since he loves minis we though his own mini would be awesome! We are selling Super J minis on eBay, where all proceeds will be automatically donated to FARA through MissionFish.

Aaron Brown of Black Crab Sculpting Studio was kind enough to donate his time and skills to sculpt it and Forrest Harris of Knuckleduster Miniatures generously cast Super J for us, free of charge. We are very grateful for their help!

The Super J mini comes unpainted and is in the 28mm range (actually 18mm in height since his just a little kid after all) on a round 20mm slot base. The one pictured here was painted by Simon of Stone Cold Lead.

For $10, with free shipping, you can get a great miniature for a great cause!

The Auction

Thank you,
The Cottrells

Feel free to use the pics to plug the mini on your own blogs or other forums that you might think would be interested. Every bit of exposure will help my little boy.

The guys who made it all possible!
The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance: Crab Sculpting Studio:
Knuckleduster Miniatures:
Stone Cold Lead:

The real Super Jason

Needless to say, I've already ordered mine and look forward to receiving it.

Friday 28 September 2012

Of Monsters and Men

This one's been in my head for a while. Very nice vocals (check out live versions, both of them have really fantastic voices), lively and catchy music and a fantastic video. Check it out!

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Tuesday 25 September 2012

My take on Malifaux plastics

There's been a lot of talk concerning the quality of new plastic miniatures for Malifaux so I thought I'd chime in with my thoughts (and some pictures). I'll start by sharing my thoughts on each of the minis that I've bought during Gencon and have already put together.

Before I actually begin, just a few words about the glue I used. I always use Revell Contacta Professional. It has a fine needle point nozzle that makes applying it much easier, especially while working on smaller parts. It also slightly melts the area around which it is applied. It means that the connected parts stay softer for a while, after which the link becomes very strong. I still needed to use pinning on some elements (basically only when I glued feet of those who stand on their toes to the base). It takes some practice but I think that this glue is a very good choice and I highly recommend it.

Let's start with the basic units - the Illuminated.

This was a kind of surprise as I honestly didn't expect too much from them. I didn't really like the pic of sprues that I saw. However, after putting them together and basecoating I have to admit that they're pretty darn well made. The parts fit perfectly together and there are some alternatives to be used for arms of the one crouching on the chest (this element isn't part of the original box) and the face of the woman (I chose a more Cthulhu-like look for her but there's an option of gluing something that looks like second jaw growing on the face). I actually used only a little GS on the sides of the woman's skirt. No GS whatsoever was used on the one that has "little darkness" eating it. I was really surprised here as this mini consists of several elements. But, as I mentioned, the fit is really close.
I was a bit concerned about the fine elements such as the tentacles protruding from the woman's mouth but in fact they're very solid and they even survived a fall from my desk to the floor without any damage.

Mr Graves and Beckoners come next. The big guy has been my favorite ever since I saw the concept art. A hulking brute wielding a fence post as a weapon - who wouldn't like it? The mini is also cast very well and the parts are so well fit that they actually stay on the model even without any glue. There are tiny gaps lest after gluing the arms but I guess they don't look that bad as they can be treated as material of his shirt folded under the vest. Still, I filled them in with GS to make sure the whole surface is smooth and there are no gaps. But as I said, it's not a problem if they are left without modelling putty. There are some large surfaces on this model, not all of them are filled with texture. That's something that some people have been complaining about on the Wyrd forum and I see their point. Painting parts like his arms and the back of the vest imo requires smooth highlights to make it look nice. Good old drybrushing simply won't do.

Beckoners are another example of well cast minis that need no GS after being put together. Their faces are proportional and overall well cast but they lack some detail that would add character to them. A smirk or purse lips would be welcome additions and would add a lot of character to these minis. Other than that it's tha same thing that I mentioned with Mr Graves - their legs and arms are a tad too smooth and a little more texture there would be better.

Jakob Lynch and Hungering Darkness come next. Jakob needed a touch of GS at the spot where his vest meets belt as there was a small gap after gluing the model. Other than that, everything was a perfect fit. The details of his clothes look nice, the trousers and sleeves are folded in several places so painting him up won't be that challenging. Still, his face also seems a bit expressionless to me. It's the face of a mannequin with a beard and nothing more than that. It will take some effort to add expression to it only using paints. It's a master and one that (I guess he must have but I haven't had a chance to read fluff from Storm of Shadows yet) has interesting background so some kind of expression should be there.
On the other hand, the skeleton rising in a cloud next to him has superb details and the cards that he's spilling look very nice too.

HD is a controversioal model. It's been called Huggy, Hippo and other names, which shows that some people feel it does not look dark enough. I also thought that its details were a bit too soft and tried to improve its look by working on its teeth with a knife in order to make them look sharper and more uneven. While the main bulk of its body look OK with some variety on the surface of the skin, the front legs are completely devoid of any details and would definitely look a lot better with more details on them. Some scars, warts, anything that would break the smoothness there.
The model needed some GS as there was a clearly visible gap going along the center of its body (it's made of two halves). It took some time and patience to fill it in and once again, I'm a bit concerned that people who are new to the hobby as they may be frustrated with it.
I don't dislike the model but I'm not a big fan either. I guess I'll be able to form my final judgement after painting it.

The special edition Hanged are pretty well cast with the same issues about faces I mentioned earlier. The trees look nice and the bark is gnarled and twisted, adding an eerie look to them. Some GS was needed to fill in the gaps left after gluing all the elements together but overall, I was very pleased with the quality of these models. The only thing that doesn't work at all is the rope on which Eric is hanging. It's way too thin and it snapped while I was trying to remove the mold lines. As a result I needed to replace it with a piece of thin wire.
The Tree is up next. It's basically pretty much the same thing as the other two Hanged, only larger. There was a clearly visible gap left after putting it together but some GS quickly fixed it. The bark looks nice too but it would look even better with more texture. The vultures you see perched on the top branches were added to the sprue (a total 6 of them), which is a nice thing as they fit the aesthetic of the model very well. As you can see, I glued it to a CD. I felt it would serve better as as terrain piece with some more ground around it.

In general, the trees should be quick and easy to paint and will definitely make nice additions as terrain pieces to any game.

Last but not least, Miss Terious. I'm a big fan of Death Marshals so I knew I was going to get this mini the moment I saw the concept art. In my humble opinion, this one is the best of all the new plastics (at least from what I've seen IRL so far). The whole mini (Miss T and the coffin) consists of 11 parts (!). The best thing is that I didn't need any GS after gluing all of them in pieces (I need not mention that each fit was perfect. And she looks like a very good fit (here she's next to Francisco Ortega) to metal minis from the range and will make a nice addition to my Guild force.

The question of scale. Here are two more pics that show new plastics next to some other metal ones (notice that Santiago is a bit larger than other minis from the family as he's a bit bulkier).

So, to sum things up, the good
- the parts fit together really well and you hardly ever need to use GS,
- as a result, putting them together is nice and easy,
- the plastic has a very solid feel to it and is quite resilient to damage,
- mold lines are there but they're very easy to remove,
- more than one option of arms/heads in some cases.

The not so good:
- too much smoothness, especially on larger surfaces,
- lack of expression on the faces (with the exception of a perfect mindless look on Mr Graves),
- more texture on some elements would be nice.

I still need to paint at least a few to form my final opinion but overall I'm pleased with the new plastic releases and look forward to seeing more (preferably with small improvements I mention above).

Two more very interesting reviews that have many excellent pictures of unpainted minis:

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Finally got Wyrd Plastics!

Got a note from my local PO that 2 parcel are waiting to be picked up. I went there right after work and it turned out that both my Gencon Orders got here at the same time (even though one was sent almost two weeks before the other). As soon as I got home I quickly unpacked them with some help from my cats...

My first impressions are very positive. The minis are smaller than I had expected but the details are excellent, some of them very intricate. Now I'll have a hard time making up my mind what to begin with. I guess I'll start with Miss Terious and Mr Graves - probably my favorite among the lot. He is just amazing with a sculpt that's full of character. I also got two tape measures with Malifaux logo - nice touch, thank you Wyrd Games.

So all of you who are still waiting for your orders and don't have a tracking number (which was my case) - be patient and don't worry too much. Sooner or later they'll reach you ;)

Saturday 15 September 2012

Nightmare Teddy

Here's another addition to my Neverborn crew - nTeddy. Painting him was fun too but it took me a while to get the fur right. Once again, I ended up working from brighter to darker colors  and achieved the final effect with multiple washes/glazes and a few highlights. Now that I look at him, it's hard to believe that I actually started from light grey basecoat.

There were two options of putting the model together, the other one with its left arm clasped around a terrified child. I chose this one as I have other plans for the kiddo.
I like his slightly crooked posture as it goes well with the twisted look of Neverborn minis.

I needed to work with Green stuff, particularly in the area around his left shoulder as the arm didn't fit there perfectly. I also sculpted additional fur around and above his claws (both on the hand and on the feet). Each claw had to be glued individually, so pinning them would be just too painful. In order to make them stronger, I simply covered them with GS and sculpted fur on top of it.

My only concern is that he's much taller than the original Teddy and towers over him. In game they both count as HT3 models but they look like two entirely different individuals, not just two versions of the same thing. That being said, I still have to admit that I do like both sculpts :)

Wednesday 12 September 2012

I had too much to dream last night...

That's the song that immediately comes to my mind when I think about this master.
My second master that I want to start using - the Dreamer with his best friend, Lord Chompy Bits. Basically it's a kid who met an ancient godlike creature called Nytmare in one of his dreams. The demon would normally torment souls that he chanced upon but this time the boy proved not only resilient but also very powerful.

I wanted to make LCB's skin look ugly and ancient. That's why I decided to highlight it this way, followed with several brown/flesh/purple glazes.
The Dreamer was more straightforward as I just wanted him to be much brighter and "cleaner" than the rest of his nightmares.I also wanted to give him a little twist and placed him on the front of his base, leaving more space for his shadow. His base is only 30mm so there isn't really much space. Still, I tried to paint a very simplified, as seen by a child, image of LCB there.

Here are two additional pics showing them from the bird's eye view.

Playing them should be fun but a challenge to. The Dreamer/LCB is one of the most complex masters in Malifaux and requires a firm grasp of the rules to use him effectively. I chose him as I like the models a lot and the fluff is quite interesting too.

And to finish things off, here are two Stitched together.

Monday 3 September 2012


Here's another Neverborn beast. One of my favorite sculpts in the range. The moment I saw him, I knew that sooner or later I was going to buy and paint it.

I struggled a little with the fur. Normally while working on minis that have fur elements I tend to use drybrushing. I didn't work well here as the contrasts were too big and it looked as if it was randomly touched by a brush with bright color over the dark one. I repainted it, this time starting from a bright color (mix of GW Dheneb Stone and Reaper Khaki Shadow). This was only lightly drybrushed with Dheneb Stone. From that moment on I worked on making the fur look darker. I did that by applying several washes of AP Soft Tone (watered down) and Strong Tone in the recesses. I was tempted to paint "FREE HUGS" (read this idea somewhere on the Wyrd forums) but ended up painting a simplified tartan pattern.

After that it was just a matter of painting its lovely happy face. I used much brighter green for the eyes. I know that this color doesn't fit the rest of the colors too well but I thought that an element of contrast here would make the Teddy look a bit crazier.
To finish things off, I wanted to add the blood effect. That was when Arlaharen's great article came in handy (check it out here). I added blood after varnishing the mini to male sure it looked fresh. Working with P3 inks using this method allowed me to get the effect I liked - realistic and gory.

The only thing I don't like that much about Teddy is that he's quite flat when you look at it from the side. Other than that it's a fantastic, evil and twisted mini.

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