Saturday, July 26, 2014

Reaper Bones Minotaur

The baby slept enough this week to give me time to finish this guy.

Not an original look for this one, but I like it. It's my usual good-enough block-color approach, though I did try a little bit of wet-blending around the nose. I'm not sure it comes across, but it looks fine. I also tried free-handing some eyebrows, as he was looking a little too much like a friendly cartoon cow. Eyebrows make everything look meaner.

Here's the comparison shot with Sven. I swear, these large Bones minis seem like they're made to look down on 1/72 scale humans. The larger scale that Reaper uses for humans just isn't as dramatic with these large monsters.

Sven gets lost on the way to Crete and asks for directions.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Potpouri: Zombie Pirates, Uruk-hai, scale wonkery

Way too much to do this week to have free time for the hobby, but I thought I'd take what little time I have to share some interesting news and discussions related to 1/72 fantasy gaming.

1.) Plastic Soldier Review had a news item about new products from Mars miniatures that included a cryptic and snobbishly dismissive note that "one set is zombies." There was no other info, but I managed to track down this pic from a Russian minis forum.

If you didn't know, Mars made a previous Zombie pirates set, based on the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. 1/72 Multiverse reviewed the set, which featured fewer actual zombie pirates and more unlicensed characters from the movie than you might imagine. This set seems to correct the issue by featuring more undead swashbucklers and fewer extravagant cinematically-inspired sea-mutants than its predecessor. I also dig the evil mermaid figure. I'm looking forward to this one!

2. Also from the same Russian website, this teaser image from Alliance miniatures.

They seem to be fleshing out their not-LOTR line with not-Uruk-hai half-orcs. With bonus evil-white-wizard anarchist, it appears!

3.) Finally some interesting discussions at TMP. I recently started a thread about adapting 15-18mm minis to 1/72 scale. Fellow 1/72 fantasy enthusiast TwinMirror started a similar thread from the other direction, discussing "true 25mm" figures and their adaption to the preferred scale of this blog. Both should have a lot of useful info for the cheap fantasy miniaturist.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lightbox upgrade

I've enjoyed the effect my cheap lightbox has had on my mini photography. The one thing I didn't like was the white backdrop. It seemed to either dampen the contrast in my photos or, if I adjusted the Brightness-Contrast levels in image editing, create a blasted, irradiated look. I had read in various places that the way to eliminate these effects is with a more neutral-colored backdrop, preferably with a bit of a pattern. I found a large sheet of artist's paper at Hobby Lobby the other day, so today I messed around with using it as a new background.

Here's the new setup. I just cut the paper to fit and taped it over the old white posterboard backdrop. Arguably this was a bit premature, but I was feeling confident. Note to self: Figure out a way to bolster the top dimensions of my lightbox. It's starting to look a little crushed.

I wanted to try some of the minis I recently took with the old lightbox setup. Here's Heinz and French, the condiment trolls, a few weeks ago.

And here they are now.

They no longer look like they are standing in a supernova. But the contrast is only a little better than before. Not the improvement I was hoping for, but wait: Notice the bleeding irradiated look on the right side. Maybe I need to adjust my lighting?

I tried again with some more brightly-colored lizardmen, just in case the problem was with the figures themselves.

Better, but still a little less contrast than I'd like. Lets move the right light and try again, this time with some goblins.

That's much better! Great contrast, and they're not overlit. I tried again just once more with the One Inch Guild. Here's how they looked a few weeks ago.

And here they are now.

I remember I had to oversaturate the first photo a bit just so it looked at all decent. I could have upped the saturation on the more recent shot as well, and it would have turned out a little better. Overall I like the second one more, though. They look more natural, and the eye is drawn to the figures, not the background.

I'm still learning a little bit about light placement and the like, but overall I think the new backdrop was a good investment.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Well, well, well!

Well, well, well, well, well. Well.

Well. This post is about wells, continuing my recent theme of 1/72 fantasy terrain and scenery. Wells are great for fantasy terrain. They exist pretty much anywhere there are people, they are usually centrally located, they are distinctive, and they're central to all kinds of myths and tales. All that, and they're pretty small, so they have a lot of character for such a little item.

Here's a well I just painted up.

It's a kit found in Italeri's 1/72 scale "Desert Tents" set. I like it, as it's pretty close to my classic impression of what a well should look like. It being a desert well, it has a skin instead of a bucket, and it doesn't have the protective gable covering you might find in more wooded areas. But it's round, loose stone, with wood supports and a rope. That largely says "well" to me.

The kit was pretty easy to put together. Everything fit together very nicely, even the rope and waterskin, which could have been obnoxiously fiddly. As you can see, the base was originally quite a bit bigger, more so than I thought it needed to be. With no undue effort I was able to cut it down to what was barely essential, then glue it to a 1.5" washer, as is my wont. I had to do another simple mod when I was scrubbing the kit before painting and snapped the waterskin off by accident. With my pin vise, pin, and glue, I was able to reattach it. Yes, the rope that hangs the skin from the crosspost is a smidgeon of metal pushpin, with a bit of woodglue dribbled on. It's certainly a more durable model this way, so I'm actually glad my accident occurred when it did.

Here are some other wells I have.

To the right of the Italeri well are a Mines of Moria well from Games Workshop and a Bones "Chaos Well" from Reaper Miniatures. These larger scale bits actually compare favorably to the Italeri well in terms of scale. On the right is a sort of watering hole from Imex's "Southwestern Alamo Accessories" set, which has a great many interesting bits. This will be good for more hardscrabble or remote communities. Another in-scale well kit I'm aware of is made by Green Line. It's got the winch and gabled roof that are probably what most people expect from a well, but is fairly expensive for my taste.

I'm pleased with the little Italeri well. I'm sure I kind find a number of uses for it.

Sven gets more than he counted on when he seeks to quench his thirst