Thursday, April 29, 2010

Painting Blood

Over the past couple of years, I've had a lot of questions about the way that I paint blood on weapons. I think that blood effects are something that almost everyone tries out at some point, but unfortunately a lot of people give up after a few tries.

I first started painting when I was eleven, and I first started painting blood on weapons almost immediately. The only trouble was that I was a terrible painter back then, so all of my minis looked like their axes and swords (and sometimes even guns) had been dipped in blood red paint. Which they were.

As I grew as a painter, I also grew out of the stage in my life where I wanted to throw tons of blood on everything. And since I wasn't having any luck with blood effects, I gave up on it.

A few years ago, I decided to give blood another chance. This time, I approached it as a multi-layered effect to add onto the weapon underneath. Here's my method:

First, start with bright '70's movie blood colored paint (that's Blood Red for fans of Citadel's line, and Khador Red Base for those who use P3). Mix it with black. You want this first mix to be almost totally black in color- more or less the color of a scab. Apply this to the edge of your weapon. This will end up being a layer of more dried blood.

From there, mix a little more red into your dark color, add a little bit of water and paint outward from the edge of the weapon.

You will mostly want to continue to do this, adding in more layers- and each layer gets closer to using pure red, while also getting thinner and also covering just a little bit more of the weapon.

After you have a pretty strong blood coloring on the weapon, you still aren't finished. You need to make it look wet. If you're going to seal your minis, make sure you do it before this step.

The last step is to apply Tamaya Clear Red over all of the areas you've painted with blood- and don't worry if you go just a little bit over the edge. Tamaya is just the perfect color to tint some of the darker shades and make the whole area look very fresh and gory.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Just thought I'd share a little bit of small press miniatures new with you.

Smartmax- a company that does some wonderful and original Victorian Horror miniatures has given us a preview of their upcoming Jaybee the Ripper mini.

By the way, most of their stuff is that creepy- and the stuff that isn't is an awesome cross between steampunk and World War I science fiction.

On another note, Scibor is releasing a strong addition to their "Celtic SciFi" range. I think it goes without saying that this mini would make a great Space Marine captain to the right chapter. Space Wolves come to mind.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I recently painted up a third set of Space Hulk miniatures. I've now painted three sets of Terminators, and Two full sets of Genestealers (and I still haven't done my own).

I've been playing Space Hulk quite a bit too, and I'm really excited to try out some of the older 1st edition supplements (Deathwing had rules for a Terminator Captain, and there are rules that I've found for playing groups of Power Armored marines and even Imperial Guard).

Anyway, here are the latest set of painted miniatures:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Garden Ninja email is down

The Garden Ninja store is currently having some problems, and the email function is not working correctly.

If you have emailed me any time in the past ten days and I have not answered, please email me directly. You can reach me through email at:

drew at

I'm very sorry for any problems this has caused.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wyrd Miniatures has just posted up their April releases for Malifaux. And they've kept up their hard work, and are once more offering us some of the creepiest miniatures in the business.

The new releases are:

Enslaved Nephilim
Hollow Waif
Malifaux Child

I haven't played Malifaux, so I can't really recommend the game, but if put even half the work into their rules set as they do into their miniatures, it's got to be terrific.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Battle Damage

It was pointed out to me recently that I've never made a post talking about how I paint battle damage. Damage is a multi-stepped process, but there are a lot of places for you to make choices.

First off, you have to choose where to put damage on your mini, and what kind of pattern to follow. You are looking for that zen combination of realistic looking effects, and what will support your mini's composition. For realism, the areas that are most susceptible to damage are the hard edges of the mini. Any edge of metal plates are more likely to get scuffed. Also, there is more likely going to be some damage on the lower parts of the mini (near tank treads or feet) as these areas are likely to get worn and scuffed on rocks and terrain.

Beyond that, however, it is usually good to have some damage in other areas too. This can help your composition quite a bit, and is easily justified on war machines and trooper armor.

I almost always start out by painting up the areas I want damaged in black. This allows for two things- first off, it suggests that the damaged armor was painted using a primer, and that it is showing through a little in the damaged areas. It also gives you some strong black-lining for the damaged areas themselves- and the black lining helps the battle damage to "pop."

I sometimes use a small sponge of a piece of foam to apply the black. This allows for a very scattered and random pattern for the damage to follow, which helps the damage look more realistic.

The second step I usually take is to put on a background metal for the damage itself. I find that using a little bit of a darker bronze-ish color is best for this. Good examples include Citadel Tin Bits, P3 Brazen Brass or almost any bronze color mixed with P3 Brown Ink. This will give you a good background for your silver damage- it helps to make the areas look more worn, slightly rusty without going too far.

By the next step, you are ready to apply some silver to your areas. You'll want to thin your paint down a little, so that the bronze color underneath can show through. If you have large enough areas, you might want to consider layering up from darker silvers up to lighter ones. Another option is to mix some of your base bronze with your silver as you layer up.

I often go all the way up to Citadel Mithril Silver for the damage. The bright silver gives the area a more scratched up look while at the same time pushing the silver forward for composition reasons.

Now you could be finished here, but you don't have to be. I often apply thin brown or blue washes over minis that are battle damaged- making them look either worn or dirty. If you are applying any washes like this, then make sure to get the damaged areas. A wash can add a nice touch to your damaged armor.

One last note on metal rivets. If I want rivets to stand out as metallic pieces, I usually paint them up using the same methods mentioned above- often I leave out the black. Painting rivets like this makes them look like worn raw metal- and they should match your battle damage well.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Privateer Press is hiring

Privateer Press is hiring a new coordinator for events and competitions. It seems that they need someone to be the tournament organizer throughout the convention circuit (and possibly to design some tournament scenarios).

For those of you less in the loop, Privateer Press is a Seattle based company and their headline game, Warmachine, is a rather competitive table top minis game.

Anyway, for anyone insterested in working in the industry, you could do quite a bit worse than Privateer Press.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Painting Miniatures in Pink

There is something ironic about using pink on miniatures altogether. I've seen quite a few pink minis in my time, the first ones were a force of pink space marines (the Posy chapter).

Most of the time, the pink is meant as a joke, or possibly a way to trash talk your opponents further (for example, "you just lost to a bunch of pink Posies").

At the same time, there is something else that calls to painters. Maybe it is the fact that we've all had a paint pot of tentacle pink sitting unused among the other paints for the past decade or two, but there is a call to use pink- and to make it appropriate. It might just be the way we're all ready to be the one to say, "Hey, I can even make this look good."

The commissar here is something more like that. She wears a light magenta rather than the red that her fellows wear, and overall, I think it works as pink (without shouting "I'm pink")

The Noise Marines above are an interesting case. The Games Workshop studio color scheme for these guys is bright pink with some black. I'm almost certain it was because someone wanted to pull out their pot of Tentacle Pink and figured he'd never have a better chance than with Slaaneshi chaos marines. Of course, at that point, the objective is to make the color schemes shout out "I'm so pink!"

The last example I'd like to show is something at once more subtle and more brazen than the other two. This is an Iron Kingdoms Infernal Curator. Essentially that means that they're the kind of demons that make deals for souls.

The pink light sourcing made him use almost the exact color pallet as the noise marines, but the light source touching everything makes for a lot of darker pinks, which in turn make the whole mini look lit in pink light, and not necessarily all dressed in bright hues.