Monday, December 20, 2010

Max the Wild

I was recently commissioned to create a Malifaux mini to look like a popular children’s book character.

This sculpt will be replacing The Dreamer (a small child who is lord of the monsters of Malifaux). Once again, I have to give credit where credit is due, and this outstanding idea originated with my client.

I tried to take the very cartoonish style of a children’s picture book and convert it into the detailed and over the top style of a Malifaux miniature.

Here are the results:



Friday, December 17, 2010

Dark Angel's Marneus Calgar

Just a little while ago, I got a commission to turn the Ultramarines chapter master into a Dark Angel mini. I was a little surprised just how much iconography has to be replaced, it is just crazy how many Us go onto a mini like that.

In the end, I defeated the beast, and made him work as a Dark Angel. So, here is Marneus Calgar, Master of the Dark Angels.




Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Geek Wedding Cake Toppers Available


After doing a few customized wedding cake toppers, we’ve received a lot of interest from the community. Honestly, I think that converting cake toppers into zombie hunters or apocalypse survivors is just great.

So if you were wondering how you could get your own cake toppers made, head on over to our Geek Wedding Cake Toppers page and have a look.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wyrd announces streamlined rulebook

Wyrd Miniatures just announced a new rulebook to be available soon for Malifaux: the Malifaux Rules Manual.

This is simply a smaller version of their core rulebook- something you could easily have on hand while playing, and also a more convenient version of their core rules set (this version has been updated with their errata too).

And it will be only $15, making Malifaux the uncontested lowest buy- in for such a nice miniatures game. And they’ll have it available in PDF, so there’s simply no reason not to try out this awesome game.

Altogether, I have to say that this looks like a wonderful idea. I hope this is the sort of thing that catches on (I’d love to see a shorter version of the Hordes or Warmachine Rulebooks, for example).

By the way, if you haven’t tried out Malifaux yet, the game system is great. So far, the only really large complaint with the system is that the rulebook has had some major organization issues- a problem that Wyrd’s team were aware of.

At Gencon, they told us that they would have a solution for us. And it looks like this is it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

TGN's Reader's Choice Awards

Tabletop Gaming News has just started accepting nominations for their Annual Reader’s Choice Awards.

Just in miniatures systems, this year has been a wild ride. Games Workshop updated Warhammer Fantasy Battle to its eighth incarnation, Privateer Press released a second edition for Hordes and Warmachine (along with a book every month of the year). Malifaux and Infinity have both had significant expansions, and that’s not even counting newcomers like Dust Tactics or Freebooter’s Fate.

And the minis we’ve seen this year have been splendid. I always love to look at TGN’s reader’s choice and have a look at anything I missed in the past year. And there are a lot of winners. They have a category for every prominent genre of mini, and a lot of great contestants this year.

So go over there now and nominate your favorite games and minis.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gift Store Repaint 2: "the sequel"

I painted up another gift store dragon. This time, it was a gift to my sister who collects dragons like this.

Overall, the methods were pretty much the same as for the rattle snake dragon. The face of the sculpt was less detailed than the last one, so I’m afraid it didn’t turn out quite as well.

For this dragon I used a King Snake pattern for the scales. I really like these animal patterns on dragons, I’m definitely going to try more. Maybe next I’ll start looking a gila monsters or I’ll to really far and try out something that isn’t a reptile.

Anyway, here is how he turned out.


And this time I remembered to get some before photographs- so here is what he looked like when I bought him:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The best Sculpting Tools are Home Made

One of the things I like most about GenCon last summer was a cool little table that Reaper Miniatures set up right outside the exhibition hall.

At the table were seated Bobby Jackson, Patrick Keith, Gene Van Horne, Drew Williams and other professional sculptors. The reason that I liked this booth so much is that all of these guys were extremely nice folks who didn’t mind at all that I was picking their brains for sculpting advice.

One of the things I noticed was that not one of them used the sculpting tools that you get from Games Workshop or Gale Force Nine. Almost all of them had a set of tools that they had made themselves.

- The exception was Patrick Keith, who uses a Wax 5 primarily. When I asked him why, he told me that he did it so that he could recommend a tool that people can just buy.

One of the jewels that I got in all of that brain picking was that making sculpting tools is actually fairly cheap and simple- so long as you already have a Dremel Tool. I did, so that wasn’t an issue. I did have to buy a blow torch and jewelery anvil, but neither of those were expensive at all.

Bobby Jackson pointed me in the direction of the Clubhouse forum and this tutorial- and it is quite the gem. The sizes are all in metric, so if you’re living state-side you’ll have to convert them a little. But it is a very helpful tutorial, and with it, I made these:

Most of these tools are similar to the ones you can buy, but they’re all smaller and finer. In fact, the one I use the most is essentially a smaller version of a Wax 5. Overall, the details that were hard to sculpt before have become much easier, and I feel like my overall skill level has gone up.

I’m sure I’m getting a +2 circumstance bonus.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Santa Hunter"

Alright, I admit, I love some pretty strange minis. I mean, Grace is Gone is definitely on my top ten list.

So, naturally, I like to share these odd treasures with you all when I find them. Scibor Monstrous Miniatures have given us a number of wonderful holiday dwarf miniatures, such as the Easter Bunny, the Pumpkin Slayer for Halloween, and the strange Statue of Love for Valantine’s day.

So, it was inevitable that we were sometime going to see a Christmas dwarf soon. Well, here he is:

You’ve got to love the look on Santa’s face there. Although I am surprised Santa survived at all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Zombie Apocalypse Wedding Cake Toppers

One of the projects that I did a while ago was to convert a pair of cake toppers into apocalyptic figures (one was a zombie, and the other was a survivor in a gas mask).

This time, my client wanted a bride and groom fighting off the zombie horde (the clothing in this diorama matches theirs).

So, here they are:

Each time I do one of these, I have to think “Man, I wish I had this idea back when I was planning my own wedding. My wife would have loved it.”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Petey miniatures

Garden Ninja is proud to announce a new licensed miniature for sale.


Petey was sculpted by Drew Olds and inspired by Schlock Mercenary by Howard Tayler. He’s available hand painted or with a patina finish, or as a plain pewter mini if you’d like to paint him yourself.

Based on Schlock Mercenary by Howard Tayler, Sculpted by Melissa Mayhew. Schlock Mercenary Copyright Howard Tayler 2000-2009 and used by permission of Howard Tayler.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mantic Games gives away rules, Privateer fixes theirs

Ok, the miniatures gaming world has two fairly important bits of news.

1- Privateer Press have just had a big update to their FAQ and Errata documents. Privateer Press have consistently been very good with updating their rules set as new problems arise, and so most likely the problems you might have had will be covered in their new document.

2- Mantic Games has found a new way to push their recently released Kings of War rules set forward. Only this time, it isn’t a PDF document, it is a free set of rules with any order of any kind from their store. It doesn’t even have to be miniatures, you may have simply bought

Mantic Games has been supplying us with some pretty nice plastic kits for about a year, and it looks as though they’re still growing. Their miniatures are all very compatible with Warhammer Fantasty Battle, but with their own rules set, the possibilities have just opened up.

Painting White

White can be a tricky color to paint. You need to be careful not to make your whites too light as once you are using pure white paint, there’s absolutely no way to highlight it any further. Because of this, it is important to remember that white colors are defined by their shadows. Don’t be afraid to use pure white on large sections of the mini, so long as you leave darker colors in the shadows to define the shape.

My go-to method for most colors is to start out dark and work my way up, so that’s where we can start this. Remember to leave your earlier layers showing so that your shapes are properly defined.

There are a lot of varied looks your white can take, and it mostly depends on what color you use for your shading layers. Let’s start out with the warm whites that are used on studio Deathwing and Protectorate of Menoth troops.

If you want a warm white, you might want to start out with a medium to light beige color (like P3 Rucksack Tan or a mix of Citadel Snakebite Leather and Bleached Bone). With this method, you may want to mix your base color with a light bone color before you finally reach white. Ultimately, you can achieve something like this:


If you want to achieve a cooler white color, the method is the same, only with different colors. Start out with a medium to light gray color. If you want a very cold result, you can work this up through a very light blue (like P3 Frostbite, or Citadel’s Space Wolves Gray). If you want a less cool look, you can mix your white paint into the base gray and work it directly up to pure white.

Again, remember that your ultimate white layer is covering quite a bit of the white area.


It is best to start practicing white with miniatures where it doesn’t matter if they end up looking light beige or light gray, because the easiest mistake to make is to have too much shading or to make the shading too dark.

Now, after some practice, if you can get the blending down pat, you eventually can start to play with colors that are almost white, but not quite. It is great for doing white on white free hand. And you can try shading with different colors to see what you can do.

Here is my Madrak Ironhide with red, blue and pink shaded white for skin, and a cool white tartan with a white tartan pattern:


Monday, November 1, 2010

Crystal Brush Painting Competition

If you’ve heard the buzz over at Cool Mini or Not, you’ll know that they’ve just announced that they’ll be sponsoring the Crystal Brush painting competition at Adepticon 2011.

Of course, it hasn’t happened yet, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know that it will be crazy competitive. The prize support is the unheard of sum of 10,000 to the grand prize winner, dwarfing pretty much every similar competition.

Maybe the guys over at Coolmini are trying to replace the Golden Daemon as the world’s premier competition, as I am very certain that a sum like that will attract the attention of many brilliant painters, and since the competition isn’t manufacturer exclusive it won’t scare away the painters who are affiliated with a company (like Eric John of Wyrd, or Matt DePietro of Privateer Press).

Coolmini has some co-sponsors for this deal, and pretty original looking trophy. All in all, the competition is going to be rough. I can’t wait to see what the competition turns out.

Avatar of Menoth

Just a little while ago, I got to paint up the Avatar of Menoth for a commission. And this is one of the most interesting warjacks in Warmachine.

The mini is designed to be a walking cathedral- with ornate organ pipes replacing its smoke stacks. He has as much runic work as the Nightmare, and even some call for minor light sourcing. Altogether is a pretty impressive little piece.

Of course, he comes from the Apotheosis era of Warmachine. The minis from that book represent a great leap in the quality of Privateer Press’ minis. However, it also represents the apex of Privateer Press assembly difficulty, and this warjacks is far more difficult to put together than almost anything that came after it.

(extremes excepted).


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Smog Painting compeition

Smart Max have just announced a painting competition for their Smog range Victorian Horror minis.

The miniatures are, without exception, quite marvelous, and conceptually fantastic (if you like creepy Victorian stuff as much as I do).

The prize, it turns out, is a whole years worth of Smart Max releases.

So take a look at the full rules, and get painting.

Movie Marine +1 more

Well, a long while ago, I got the idea into my head that I would create a force of Movie Space Marines. That’s a joke list GW made in White Dwarf #300 where ten marines and a rhino were a 1500 point army. And they’re all tougher than Rambo.

So I decided would create a tactical squad that took as much time and effort to create as your average Warhammer 40,000 force did.

I got through them at quite a pace for a while, but soon other projects started getting in the way (most notably, my entries for the P3 Grandmasters). So, just like a real force, they’ve been put off and delayed.

Well, after such a long time away, they’re back. Somehow, I decided to paint them up before my new Malifaux crew or my Blood Bowl team. I’ve finished one more, and I only have a couple of the original Movie Marines left to paint.

So, here is the latest:



I had a number of requests for pictures of my dragon that show his scale.

So, here he is next to Professor Viktor Pendrake. Pendrake is on a 30mm base.

Our gaming table has 30mm squares all over it (because we usually play with minis whose bases are just slightly too large for the standard 1 inch squares).

But there you go.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Repainting a non-mini Dragon

Ever since I can remember, I’ve pretty much been responsible for making miniatures for any role playing groups that I’ve been in. Mostly, because I’m the only one who thought that we needed matching miniatures for our characters.

Right now I’m taking my turn GMing our Iron Kingdoms game. I decided to make it a super epic level campaign in which the party goes after all of those godlike beyond epic monsters that they always had to avoid in our other campaigns.

That means Dragons. Now, if you’re familiar with the Iron Kingdoms setting, you’ll know that there are no dragons smaller than Colossal size in all of the IK. When I started looking for minis, I was at a bit of a loss.

I could get a huge resin dragon for somewhere between two and five hundred dollars. It would fit the bill, but that’s pretty expensive.

I could pick up one of the discontinued Wizards of the Coast Colossal Red Dragons, but they’ve been going for two hundred dollars each, and are way less interesting minis than the resin ones for the same price.

I’m so glad that my wife pointed out a third option. For around twenty to thirty dollars, you can go to an Asian gifts store and pick up one of their dust collectors.

Now these minis tend to be a little less detailed than pewter or resin minis, and the pre-paints on them tend to be horrific. Whatever you do, don’t pick one up that has glitter all over it.

But with a little love, you can turn them into great looking minis. I have a second one in my back room waiting, but here is the first one that I’ve finished:




In the end, he looks like a pretty good, and massive sized mini.

I had to do a little bit of green stuff work on him. His horns were made of rubber and needed to be re-sculpted in something that could be painted, and his eyes had pupils sculpted onto them, which I thought would look better painted on.

His base was made from half of a super cheap Wal-Mart clock, and on our game board takes up just the right number of squares for a beyond epic level massive dragon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Malifaux Halloween Scenarios

The guys at Wyrd miniatures have been giving us creepy miniature for a while now.

But this year, they have a new way to celebrate Halloween. They’ve released Halloween Story Encounters for Malifaux.

There’s a witch, a haunted cemetery and a wild pumpkin headed butcher knife wielding murderer. Fun stuff.

Eldrad's still got it after all of these years

I first became interested in wargamming when I was much younger. I was a little intimidated by Warhammer 40,000 because all you could buy was the book. I knew I wanted to play the game, but I also knew that the rules didn’t come with any minis, so it seemed like an incomplete game to me.

I finally decided that I could pick the game up when Games Workshop announced that they were releasing a “Boxed Edition” of 40k. I still think it is strange that no one called it the 2nd ed back then, and honestly I was a little surprised that the rules were so different from the Rogue Trader.

Anyway, shortly after that, Games Workshop started up their codex system of updating force lists, and the first two they did were the Space Wolves and Eldar.

And in those books, we had some of the first special characters for 40k. Before them, there was Commissar Yarrik and Ghazkull Thrakka, but those two codecies made it standard.

Also, a lot of the Space Wolf special characters have never had a mini update (unlike Thrakka and Yarrik). Some of the Eldar characters could probably use an update (Jane Zarr still has the most incredible mullet). I think the most impressive one is Eldrad Ulthuan.

For a while, Eldrad was the standard mini you’d use for a farseer. GW had released a non-character farseer mini, but it was so inferior to this one that everyone just assumed they’d use this. The practice spread even more widely when GW made the special characters illegal in competitive play, but allowed the minis to represent your non-special characters.

Anyway, I got to paint up some of the old characters recently. Eldrad here followed the same color scheme that we first saw back in the 2nd ed Eldar codex. Here he is:


Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Monsterpocalypse Greens

There’s been a bit of hubub surrounding Monsterpocalypse lately. After the release of the Voltron two player game over the summer, it seems they haven’t slowed down. They have two player starter sets designed to look like the Voltron set (you get two random monsters from different factions, and a set of minions from the same faction).

What with the film that might actually get made (it has progressed from the “who knows” stage to the “pretty likely” stage) there’s been a lot of hubub.

But what I’m excited about are the minis. While their pre-paints aren’t always the best, Monpoc has released a good number of wonderful minis for repainting.

They’ve just posted up a bunch of new greens for us to have a look.

By the way, there’s something odd about that page. In the description, it sounds as though Privateer Press is working with the movie people to create some of the new Monpoc stuff.

That makes me wonder if we’re going to actually get miniatures based off of Tim Burton artwork. Makes me wonder.

Anyway, here are the greens:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pale Assassin

While I was at Gencon, one sculptor asked me whether I knew where to find the very best faces on any range of miniatures. My first thoughts went to Dark Sword and their fantastic line of non-heroic scaled miniatures (the faces and hands are all so delicately detailed).

He told me that the best line was Tom Meier’s Thunderbolt Mountain line. At the time, I decided that I hadn’t seen enough of TBM to decide if he knew what he was talking about.

I can’t say that he was right, but it turns out that he wasn’t wrong. Tom Meier sculpted around half of the Dark Sword miniatures line.

With that, I’ll introduce to you all a recent commission for a Dark Sword piece. This one was sculpted by Jeff Grace (another of the best sculptors out there). The colors were largely a choice of my client in this case (he sent me some drawings to match). I think she turned out rather well.




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cryx Battlegroup

My wife started playing Warmachine a while ago. It turns out that she really loves the undead in all varieties, so her choice to play Cryx was easy.

I remember talking to her about choosing colors for the force, and she pulled out this crazy bright orange and teal and said that she thought the undead should be brightly colored. She actually might have gone with pink if painting Warmachine minis in pink weren’t such an institutionalized practice.

Fast forward a little, she has a brilliant looking brightly colored undead force that has started looking like Cryx to me. So, I had to pull out my books when I was commissioned to paint a few minis up in the Privateer Press studio colors.

Overall, the Bane brown/grey color scheme fits well with my style- I like the neutral pallets. So here they are, Cryx in Brown instead or bright orange:





Monday, October 4, 2010

Strangest Concept Mini Ever

Ok, I have seen a lot of odd minis in my time. Miniatures sculptors, like all artists, are an odd bunch and really like to push away from what is standard and what is normal.

When they do, we get some pretty outstanding miniatures. Like Dark Age’s Contradiction, Yannik Hannebo’s Beauty and the Bot, or Kev White’s series of Libby miniatures. Great artistic renderings, all of them. Also, these are very strange minis.

But Emanuele Giovagnoni has presented to us one of the strangest concepts I’ve ever seen for a miniture. Here is “Grace is Gone” or the pregnant cyborg:

the pregnant cyborge

the pregnant cyborg

Beautiful sculpting work gave her this delicate pose that combines like eerily well with the Giger style tubes and metal plates.

But I’ll say it again: this is the strangest concept ever. By the way, you can get her from the Cool Mini store if you like strange. I know I do.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Patrick Keith Elves

Yes, all of you Blood Bowl fans out there should know the Impact Miniatures line pretty well. For the past decade or so, they’ve been doing more for Blood Bowl than Games Workshop, and by quite a long shot.

They do have their own game (called Elfball) which they support pretty well, but they also have no qualms about doing a little bit of everything.

They’ve just unveiled the beginnings of a new elven team: the Timberline elves. So far, they’re looking pretty good. Sculpted by Patrick Keith, I think these go to show just how much he’s been improving. I can’t wait to see the rest of the team show up.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rogue Trader character minis

I have to say, I’ve been very impressed by the way that Fantasy Flight has treated their license to create Warhammer 40,000 role playing games.

From the brilliant artwork and the tone of each of the books, you really do get a strong feel for the rich universe of 40k- and it is honestly more rich and worked out in the RPG books than it is in most of the 40k force books.

One interesting note, though, is that there isn’t exactly a line of Dark Heresy or Rogue Trader minis. Deathwatch has plenty, since marines are the iconic centerpiece of 40k, but there are so few women, and even fewer non-military humans that finding good minis for a 40k RPG often takes you outside the line.

Dark Age has a good line of minis in trenchcoats, and a lot of them would work brilliantly as Rogue Trader characters. Another place to look is Reaper’s Chronoscope line, where pretty much anything goes.

Here is a character I painted for a Rogue Trader campaign. She originally came from Anima Tactics, but she has so much character that she was just screaming to be role played:


Monday, September 20, 2010

Good the Battle is having an open playtest

The guys over at Project Good have been working on a miniatures game system that incorporates every miniature you could possibly own.

It would seem that your two foot tall Vizeralyn the Oracle Dragon mini can go up against your Epic 40,000 imperial guardsmen. According to the rulebook, you can even use rocks or fruit if you are sad and don’t have minis.

Anyway, as part of their beta testing, they put the full rulebook up online for you to download. You can play and give them feedback to help them create a better game, or you can just play.

Anyway, happy gaming, and I hope that someone finds their 15 mm Prussians going up against a 70mm Wolverine.