Friday 29 November 2013

Lighting things up

I've recently come across a very interesting article on one of my favorite hobby-related blogs, Colored Dust. It it basically a review of a desk working lamp. A very good read and judging from the comments below it, a very good product too. After thinking it over for a while, I decided to order the lamp for my workspace. Below you can see two pictures that compare lighting in my previous setup to one with the VTLAMP6.

That was the previous setup. As you can see, the light is a bit more yellowish (even though special daylight light bulbs were used). It worked pretty well but the main downside for me was that only limited area on the desk was lit well. Moreover, the lamps heated up after a while. Small thing, but it was particularly irritating on hot summer evenings.

As you can see in the pics above (showing the effect of VTLAMP6), the light has more white in it and spreads over a larger surface. It is shed from a higher point so the larger size of lamp doesn't feel overwhelming. And one more thing - it doesn't block the view to the screen of my PC, which means that I don't have to sit directly in front of it now.

I'm quite happy with my purchase right now. I'll have to spend a few longer painting sessions in the new setup to for a final opinion but I think it's definitely an improvement and I can recommend the lamp to all of you night owls.
I left various random things on the desk to show you how different objects and colors look in both versions. I didn't ask the cat to pose for the pics. He just decided he wants to be there. Cats don't ask for permission, they just do what they feel like doing.

One more thing - it's Black Friday in the US, which means that there are many good deals in the hobbyland. Wyrd Games has organized a sale and offered interesting deals. I'm a sucker for limited minis, especially when it comes to the Guild so I picked the Torch and the Blade alond with the pre-order of the Latigo Posse. I've also ordered the new Mini Rulebook, Foil Fate Deck, Governor's proxy (should be more useful in game than Scales of Justice with his healing ability) along with two limited minis - the Carver and War Rooster. I'm also going to get the new alternate Perdita miniature, which is a sweet model. If you're interested - go ahead and check out the deals that are still there.

Sunday 24 November 2013

What's scary?

"We take refuge in make-believe terrors so the real ones don't overwhelm us, freezing us in place an making it impossible for us to function in our day-to-day lives. We go into the darkness of a movie theater hoping to dream badly, because the world of our normal lives looks ever so much better when the bad dream ends..."
Stephen King from the new introduction to "Danse Macabre".

I guess that's a pretty good explanation for why I read his books.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Baba Jaga

Here's my second entry from this year's Rotten Harvest - Baba Jaga. I entered her into the "Witches and Warlocks" category but the competition there was quite strong and in the end she didn't get to top 3. I painted her as a gift for my father's birthday who used to read and make up his own tales to me and my brothers when we were kids. He has a fantastic, deep voice and does a really good job of creating a unique atmosphere while reading/telling tales. Those stories are some of my fondest memories from the childhood.

 Baba Jaga is a mythical creature that is common for Slavic folklore. She is usually presented as an old, disgusting woman who lives deep in the forest. Her only companions are wild animals and other, often supernatural beings. She is almost always accompanied by a black cat, a crow or a snake. There are some tales in which Baba Jaga is kind to honest and brave heroes but mostly she is a malevolent being who enjoys making other people's lives miserable. In some stories she even captures people (mostly children), only to kill and devour them. Despite all her flaws, she is also an ancient creature who is strongly attached to nature and, if pushed, will do everything to protect it. This twisted character can also be seen in modern literature. Rhea of Coos from Stephen King's "Dark Tower" is a good example. Not to mention Zoraida from the Bayou...

I've always enjoyed these folklore tales. Seeing how how various artists portray Baba Jaga has always been fascinating for me. I knew that I would eventually try to paint a miniature that is close to my vision of Baba Jaga. Wyrd's Cauldron Witch fit perfectly. An old woman wearing worn out rags and holding a black cat by its tail. I'd probably like it even more if she was on a broom but a cauldron suits her just as well. After choosing the proper miniature I knew that I would try to emphasize the fact that she is flying. In order to do that, I prepared tall rocks and placed two trees made of wire and plenty of green stuff on top of them. 

Attaching the Autumn foliage took forever as I had to glue every small bit separately. I also painted the base so that it would look like a swamp and finished it off by adding two small tufts of grass and covering it with a few layers of Vallejo still water. I also used a special paint to make the contents of her cauldron glow in the dark. And that's pretty much it, my Baba Jaga is ready to leave her forest. She's most likely up to no good.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Rotten Harvest 2013

Well, the results are in and this time round one of my two entries was voted second in The Trick or the Treat category. I'll write more about the second entry which failed to get to top 3 in a separate entry.

Death Marshals are the models that got me interested in Malifaux in the first place. The original metal miniatures were the first I painted for the game. I loved the new plastic versions the moment I saw the artwork. I think they fit in with the Halloween theme of the Rotten Harvest very well. Half alive, half undead. In the service of "humanity" but using methods in their work that can be described as anything but humane. They are specially trained to help with the Ressurectionist threat but are used freely whenever Guild's business needs to betaken care of.
I used the "classic" color scheme. I like it a lot and I also thought it would nicely contrast with the greenish flames. The flames were finished off with a glow in the dark medium.
While I really like the dynamism of these sculpts, there's one thing that bothers me. The kneeling one is completely out of scale. He's much larger, which could be OK on its own. However, his coffin and Peacebringer are also way too big compared to the other two.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Justified absence?

I guess there's no point starting with the obvious (long time no post, life getting in the way etc.). Let's just say that the last couple of weeks have been as busy as usually. Another thing that slows me down is that I'm working on a few different minis simultaneously.
First of all, I've finally painted the avatar version of Lady Justice. I bought it when... Maelstrom games was still around, so that must have been a longer while ago. For some reason I've been putting working on this one away.
LJ has always been one of my favorite Malifaux characters and the original metal box was the first one I bought for the game. I used the "classic" Justice color scheme and the greenish flame effect to match the rest of the new crew (I was inspired by the original artwork on the Guild's Judgement box). I also painted some OSL around the eyes of the monsters.
I'm really impressed with the design of this model as it's all cast it metal and everything has stayed perfectly intact since gluing the whole thing together. The only potential problem I predict is that if the Ram or Crow is touched and bent even slightly, the paint on LJ's forearms is bound to chip off.

As I was working on the avatar, I also painted the new plastic version of Justice. While I really like the dynamic pose, I'm not entirely sold on the way her hair go up. It might (how would I know, I'm practically bald myself ;) look like that if she's just landed from some considerable height but still it seems a bit odd to me. Her sword is another problematic bit. In the original design it's glued only at the place where the blade meets the hilt so it's bound to break at the first chance. In order to strengthen it, I also glued it to also to her fringe. It partly blocks her face now but that's not a big problem as she's wearing a band anyway.

Enough complaining. Other than those two bits I really like the miniature. She's dynamic, proportions are perfect (more natural compared to the original larger and busty metal version).Wyrd plastics offer a lot of possibilities for practicing highlighting. There are many smooth surfaces (skin, pants, boots) that need several layers of thinned down paint to look right.
I used Cemetery resin bases from Micro Art Studio as I thought they fit the theme of this Anti-Ressurectionist crew very well.

Aaaand, I also painted the puppet version of LJ. I won a sprue of sample plastic puppets in a painting competition a while ago. The one that you can see in the pic above is cast in one piece and the plastic has a very solid feel to it. I really like the sculpt, I think it does a fantastic job of portraying the original character in a tongue-in-cheek manner. The details look nice though once again, the smooth surfaces may be seen as a drawback for some. Personally, I don't mind them. I actually feel that they give me extra opportunities to practice working with thinned down paint and with applying smooth highlights but I can understand that for some it may be a lot of unnecessary hustle.

Last but not least, here's a group photo of all the LJ minis I own. I don't have the original metal puppet but I don't plan to get it as I really like the plastic one.
I currently have several Malifaux projects on my painting station in various stages of progress so if anyone's interested in seeing some more Guild stuff, check back soon.
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