Posts Tagged ‘painting’

I’ve been spending too much time online. This isn’t news, but what I’ve been doing a lot of lately is scouring the Internet for RSS and Atom feeds to pass into the miniature painting news aggregator I made. I could mention again how I think Blogger is inferior to WordPress or how not all feeds are created equal and not all behave as you’d expect them to, but what I really thought I’d write about is how a lot of hobby blogs don’t produce very consistent or high quality content. Revised miniature painting news aggregator

Ron is relaunching the From the Warp blogger group, but he is still using the exact same technology that ultimately let him down. He’s trying to be more selective as to which blogs he includes. There are a lot of these ‘blog networks’ now. Many bloggers seem to be a member of them all and rely on them to send readers there way. I’ve been reading the headlines and opening paragraphs of a lot of blogs both on FtW but also from the TGN Blogging Network and I’ve noticed a lot of poorly named blogs, poorly chosen post tiles, and a lot of low quality content.

I never set out to make a miniature painting news aggregator. I never set out to write PHP, but I have time on my hands so I try to do something with my education. I never wanted to curate yet more miniature painting information, but I’m disappointed with a few sites and the technology they use. I tried to find technology that would help me find quality content and feeds. I really don’t want to scrape content, so sites without valid feeds or an API will just not be part of what I continue to build, but for those hobbyists that do want more readers/followers there is a lot of things they could be doing that doesn’t involve switching from Blogger to WordPress.

First of all I understand people have limited time to devote to the hobby or to painting miniatures and people have their own favourite websites or forums that they frequent. My miniatures and paints are all in boxes in storage and I haven’t played a game of Warhammer 40,000 or anything that uses miniatures in about a year. However if you have time to blog, you have time to blog better. If you have time to post pictures to the Internet you have time to ensure those pictures are sorted, titled, and tagged intelligently. If you have time to comment on multiple blogs and forums and social networks, you have time to do something intelligent and useful with all that content and energy.

Cool Mini Or Not supposedly has the largest collection of painted miniatures online, but there is no way to subscribe to feeds of say the top minis submitted that week. There also is a lot unpainted or poorly painted miniatures so I don’t always find the coolest stuff by looking at random images on CMoN. I’m also interested in how things are done, not just seeing a high resolution picture of the final model. CMoN is definitely an online store now and I don’t find their site the best use of my limited hobby time. Dakka Dakka and Warseer both have galleries, Dakka Dakka had an RSS feed I thought would give me pictures of new and cool miniatures but it has proved erratic and disappointing. Warseer is not a personal favourite of mine, I’d prefer more hobbyists posted their completed miniatures to Flickr. I’ve also discovered that aggregation isn’t enough, a certain amount of curation and quality control is necessary to produce the best results.

Tumblr was a big disappointment as far as finding cool miniature painting content. Facebook is a mostly closed network, so Twitter particularly #miniaturemonday has proven much more useful. I’ve even decided to join Pinterest to see if I can use that site to build a better curated collection of cool minis. I asked several people for suggestions as to what feeds to include and basically no one could be bothered to make any useful suggestions so more and more of my own personal preferences and biases are being reflected in the miniature painting news aggregator. Other news aggregators of course exist, PopURLs is mentioned by Ryan, but I’m more familiar with AllTop due to being something of a Guy Kawasaki fan. There is an AllTop for board games and RPGs but not for wargaming or miniature painting.

Maybe my efforts will be all for not, but given the increasing emphasis on curation and all the time and effort I’ve invested into the hobby over the years and finding quality hobby content online I don’t think it is the easiest problem to solve, there isn’t one site right now that has all the coolest miniature painting stuff in one place, I guess I’m that is what I’m building.

I tend to write long rambling posts with lots of information and links. However I am capable of writing high quality content that performs well in search engines or in social media. I started this blog so I could join the FtW blog network or just to de-complicate my original blog. Musk’s Miniatures definitely isn’t perfect or the best example of a high quality blog, however given that some people try to earn a living or augment their income from the hobby, I just know I’m going to get whiny emails someday asking why their blog isn’t included or featured, the short answer is “your blog sucks” or perhaps more eloquently your content just isn’t unique or interesting to me. Since I’m building and curating the website it definitely reflects my preferences but it is also incorporates algorithms and social media so other people’s preferences have influence. How Alltop works, is how my miniature painting news aggregator works.

I’ve written a lot of blog postings trying to pass on my experience and knowledge, here is advice on how to improve your hobby blog:

Others have written often conflicting advice to mine, but the goal is the same, if you want people to read what you write, whether it is about a hobby or some other interest, you have to work at it and you have to make a commitment to Quality. There are too many blogs and websites competing for our time and attention. Too many of them do not maintain a respectable wheat to chaff ratio. I’d rather read one awesome post a month, than 3 or 4 crappy posts a week. If you adopt the latter publishing strategy, I’m unlikely to subscribe to your RSS feed, I’m definitely not including your blog in my blog roll or the miniature painting news aggregator I just built, you won’t see many comments or hits, and long term your inferior content will not perform well in search engines or in social media. 100s of people a day still read hobby content I put online ten plus years ago, but I’ve also written content that no one reads, probably less than one person in a hundred days. Which do you think was a better investment of my time, which do you think was of higher quality as judged by search engines, my peers, and random websurfers?

I’ve been chipping away at this squad.  I’d like to be further along, hell I’d like to be finished, but it looks like I won’t even finish the skulls and bones tonight unless I stay up late.  While checking some RSS feeds I noticed From the Warp is more alive and Ron intends to keep it that way, so I decided to throw up a post.

I never left From the Warp or joined any competing networks when Ron took a hiatus.  Hopefully I can keep painting and improve my traffic and readership.  I think I’m up to about 100 posts.

WIP Khorne Bezerker Champion

WIP Khorne Bezerker Champion

This model has been dubbed Beelzebubba after a both the Dead Milkmen album and my old buddy Bub.  He is the champ, he will have a power weapon and I’ll be doing it and the exposed skin once I finish the bone.  I have been using less washes on the small bits, something I intend to continue when I finish the leather.

I’m not super happy with the red, it got too bright.  My second test Bezerker still has the best armor color. I used mostly the same colors but I need to use the same thickness of paint and density of washes…  I could try to darken it a bit with another wash, but I just want them done.  I usually come to that stage when I paint anything.

I barely avoided my red becoming too orange, I also think I avoided the greens becoming too bright and the Bezerker starting to look like a Christmas ornament.  Hopefully with the bones, skin, and purple flames finished they’ll look good alongside the other two.

These fellows were supposed to be my third entry into the Lead Painters League, as you can see they are not done. My life isn’t as easy as some would have you believe. I’m no peasant farmer in Cambodia, but I have been unemployed entirely too long the last five or so years, ever since my Sauder MBA not in-coincidently.

I’ve had other things on my mind, but mainly I’ve just been lazy, or at least unfocused on finishing these models. I’ll get in a couple hours one day then a week could go by before I paint again. This week I painted on Monday inspired by Trumpeter Salute I guess. But then reality set back in. None of my problems have been solved, despite having a job interview this week. I’ve been disappointed far too many times to count any chickens at this stage.

WIP Khorne Bezerkers

WIP Khorne Bezerkers

Well enough about me, this is what I’ve done on these models. I primed them black, with GW Spray Primer and likely a lot of Chaos Black touchups. Then I did the main metallic parts, the silver is Boltgun Metal + Chainmail + Silver + a couple washes. My brushes were in a sad state for awhile. I got two new ones, but I’m over due to try and rescue some old brushes or just need to do less jabbing in crevices I guess…

The trim is currently just Tin Bitz. It will look more like brass once I finish the power armor.

The black parts of the armor are completely done. I used the Foundry Black Triad plus a little bit of Badaab Black wash and a final spot highlight of Astronomicon Grey which may be a bit too bright, I might have to shop around for another grey someday… I paint black power armor pretty good, red is more work.

I was using the P3 Wet Palette and once again it was probably too wet so I need too coats of Clotted Red. I also used Go Faster Red and of course Ruby Red along with some custom dark red washes made from old Citadel Inks. I need a bit more blending, with maybe one or two highlights of Ruby Red and a red glaze and the power armor will be done.

I hope to fix up the metallic bits too tonight, but the models will not be finished by tomorrow morning. I plan to do the green tubing and many skulls after the metallics are done, that still leaves the skin, the leather pouches and various small details, plus some elaborate resin bases. I’ll be glad when I can go back to painting simpler models than these guys. I’m trying to do a good job, as I always try to do a good job, but I think choosing your models and paint schemes can save a lot of time.

Hopefully I get a job soon, as I don’t know what will happen if I don’t…

But I can’t show them to you.  Them’s the rules in the Lead Painters League.  If I don’t watch it, I’ll turn into one of those miniature painting blogs, where they don’t actually paint any miniatures.  They show pictures of models they own or in often cases don’t own, they complain about the prices, the rules, how much time it takes to paint, how hard it is, how they’re no good at painting, how they can’t find a recipe or a tutorial, or a decent brush or whatever.

My advice to them remains:

Shut up and paint!

They have a word in the dictionary for people like that, hypocritical. They have another word too, lazy. If you’re too busy to paint, surely you’re too busy to blog about not painting. Blogging about not painting is like dancing about politics, it makes no damn sense and is just a waste of time.

Just scroll back to previous posts and imagine the unpainted miniatures painted. That must be what those other bloggers want you to do too… …except I really will show them painted when I’m able to in a few weeks, or you can just follow the Lead Painters League over at the Lead Adventure Forum.Random Miniatures

Next up for me is some more Khorne Bezerkers. I took a picture of what the models look like lying around on the shelf above my painting table. I’m going to convert and base them, then I’m going to paint them. Then they’ll look rather like these ones, which I painted.

Someone took a photo of my bezerkers and put it on their blog and basically said, if they were going to paint some Bezerkers, you know if they had time, and determination, they’d want them to look something like these ones.

The three Khorne models I've painted in dark red armor

The three Khorne models I've painted in dark red armor

Of course they didn’t credit me with painting the models or link to my website. It was a picture of just the two bezerkers, not sure where I posted that, maybe on the Bolter and Chainsword, it isn’t on Flickr…

Well maybe not everyone but a lot of the miniature painting and hobby blogs I follow are making me look even lazier than I already am.  I thought after my last game, I’d get in some more games and get my hobby mojo going again, but it didn’t happen.  I still do a lot of thinking and planning, but not enough getting off my ass and doing.  In truth I have bigger problems than lack of hobby output, but I have so many cool ideas and so much money invested in this hobby, I really should try and do something.Nurgle Terminators on Bigger Bases

Either that or I should move up my excess hobby crap sell off date…

Anyway inspired by one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time, I resumed rebasing my Nurgle Terminators.  I kinda wish I had one more armed with Chainfist.  I could convert another one up, I have the parts, but I have enough models I need to paint and I think just making my one chainfist guy a champ will accomplish almost as much.

I’ve got them all on 40mm round bases now and I commenced gluing bits to them.  I raided my bits box and gluded on a bunch of 28mm metal skulls I got from Black Cat Bases.  It’s not all glamorous showpiece projects, sometimes you have to spend an evening with nail files and little metal skulls and various chemical concoctions.  I think six of them still need more bits so I will be busting out my bits still on a sprue, maybe even bust open of the many boxes I still have shrink wrapped for some fresh bits too. Some bases still need more bitz

Lots is going on in the hobby, the Lead Adventure Forum is running their Iron Painter or whatever contest.  The Iron refers to your ass or your will power as the goal is to paint 10 groups of five models over a ten week period.  You can get started early, as in right now.  Scale doesn’t matter, so I’d be better served painting small models not say Nurgle Terminators.  These models on my table right now won’t be eligible, they need to be in groups of five, not three, and rebasing doesn’t count as freshly painted, no matter how many little bits you glue on the bases.

Lead Painters League

I like to paint in groups of four sometimes even less.  I often paint one or two models just to add to a squad or to give me another option.  I’m going to have to alter my painting preference and re-order my queue.  I’m also going to have to dig into the many, many, models I own that are unpainted and find some that will score the odd bonus points.  First up is non-combatants.  I thought of some, I don’t know who manufactured them, or who traded them to me, but I have some dancing ladies that got thrown into a trade about 15 years ago.  They are definitely unarmed, in fact I think they are pretty much naked.  They are also smaller than 28mm so they will paint up quickly.

I will do up five Khorne Bezerkers though in reality I need to paint six…  One I think will remain unpainted until after the contest.  I will also paint up some Night Goblin Archers and a Big Boss for one of my units.  It is the basing that worries me there.  Normally I base the whole unit, in one go, that is 30+ Night Goblins in this case.  We’ll see how I feel, it takes a whole day to do the multi step basing process on that many models.

I’ll also be doing up some regular goblins armed with say a sword to serve as war machine crew.  Again I think I need six, so this time I’ll probably just do six.  I’m going to make custom movement trays for everything, so again basing these models will be way more work.

If I can get all that done in ten weeks I’ll be doing pretty good.  Might do up some Zombies or something for my Servants of Decay army.  Either that and go way off the wagon and buy something just for the contest, say the Fellowship of the Ring.

Wish me luck and stay tuned as I’ll try to update say weekly.

As promised I stayed up in the heat and finished my WW1 Foundry Rifleman test model, which I painted in the colours of the Canadian Corps circa mid to late 1916.  Furthermore I made the miniature a member of the Van Doos, but I almost forgot to paint distinctive shoulder markings. Finished model from behind

This is the final of four blog postings about painting this model.  It was painted beside the original test model, and another test model this one for my Servants of Decay army which I’ll be doing for next years Astronomi-con Vancouver.  But the focus of this post is how I did my second and better but still not perfect Canadian WW1 infantry soldier.

Finished painting Drab triadHere is the recipe so to speak, any colours I don’t list a manufacture for are probably made by GW (Citadel):

  1. Clean, base and prime the model.  I used Citadel spray black primer, but any black paint that is of reasonable quality will do.
  2. Uniform is painted Foundry British Uniform Brown Triad (#100) order A-B-C, with a Devlan Mud wash, after the wash was an edge highlight of 100C.
  3. Webbing is painted Iyanden Darksun with a Gryphonne Sepia wash and highlights with Vallejo Model Colour Beige (#917)
  4. Rifle stock and entrenching tools any dark brown, I used GW Scorched Brown.
  5. Weapons and canteen lid painted Boltgun Metal, washed with thinned armour wash, highlighted with Chainmail and selectively aged with Gryphonne Sepia.
  6. Flesh was Foundry Triad Flesh Triad (#5) order B-A-C, then a custom flesh wash made from red and brown ink, I used old GW inks Rust Brown and Plasma Red.  Finally another highlight of Flesh 5C.
  7. Then I painted the rest of the gear which was the helmet, canteen, and ‘putties’ using Foundry Triad Drab (#12) in the order of A-B-C.
  8. I then highlighted the black boots with Foundry Triad Charcoal Black (#34) with order B-C-A.
  9. Then I used a tiny bit of Badab Black wash on the ‘putties’ and on the boots, this was very selective and subtle.
  10. I did the eyeballs of the model, little bit of white paint, even less a dot of black paint, fix up any flesh with 5A.
  11. Finally I drybrushed the beach sand on the base with three GW Browns: Bestial, Snakebite Leather, and Bubonic.
  12. Fixed up the rim of the base with Chaos Black paint.
  13. Painted the insignia, a blue rectangle with a red circle above it on both shoulders.  I decided to use Deadly Nightshade (old GW paint) and for the red I’ll go with GW Blood Red.

That’s it, I recommend sealing your model the next morning when it is good and dry with a Matte Sealant.  I may use Purity Seal, I may use Krylon, but I’ve read and been told that Testors Dullcoate is the best. The finished WW1 rifleman model

Finished Van Doos test model and friendsIf you’re going to paint a platoon of these guys you can try to cut corners, use only part of the Triads, the Foundry Drab Triad all three colours are quite different but if you have faith, thin your paint, and feather in a bit…  Anyway experiment with the triads, try just the B with the C as a highlight or maybe the A with a B highlight, try leaving out some of the washes, use just one metal colour etc. etc.

I also used the P3 Wet Palette for most of these colours which ensure you thin your paint at least, but maybe it is too much.  It definitely isn’t necessary I’ve painted 100’s of minis without one.  I don’t use my metallics in the wet palette, I’m worried about contamination.  Now to take the final pictures and then try to get some sleep.

Two Test Models

I have had these two links I’ve been meaning to work into a blog post, but I’ve had plenty of pictures and lots of old stuff to show…  Anyway the news is I finally have another job interview.  This job seems real promising, but you should never count your chickens before they hatch.  I think they might be as interested in me as I am in them.  I’m not one to make lofty demands.

Now back to the hobby.  The Tau of War wants you to stop using Chaos Black primer and start using Army Painter colored primer.  I talked to Darren about this, he carries Army Painter at Strategies.  I’ve been doing a lot of black painting for my trench table and perhaps brown would work just as well if not better, but I think you will find that trying to wash an entire 6*4 foot table plus all the scatter terrain gets expensive and awkward.  I’ll stick to the all mighty dry brush, a technique I almost never use on individual miniatures.

I may have to try one of the colored primers when I have a better bank balance.  In the mean time I will use cheap black paint for the most part on my terrain.  I also probably stick to black primer for my upcoming models, though I have some Krylon Grey spray primer I bought a while back I’m always going to test.

The other thing I’ve mentioned just about every post, is Astronomi-con.  It is one of the better, if not the best independent Warhammer 40,000 tournaments out there.  It has grown from its origins in Winnipeg to this year being run in four separate cities in North America.  The brains behind the tournament (Christian and Mike) are old time 40K mailing list members I’ve known for years.  They’ve put a lot of effort into growing the hobby in the ‘Peg and giving Canadian 40K players something to look forward to with the demise of the Grand Tournaments and the Conflicts in Canada.

Now they’ve done gone to Texas and from most accounts it was a success.  Maybe it’ll give the overly competitive American Internet know-it-alls something to think about besides ‘Ard Boyz.  Maybe some of them will journey North where the minis are painted the missions are complex and the opponents drink beer afterwards and sometimes during the games.

Clay Smith yet another old time 40K mailing lister has a detailed account filled with pictures, I won’t ruin it for you, but he enjoyed the experience and did well with his Orks.  They had some nice scenery, but if it was like the ‘Ard Boyz or other US tournaments there was some underpainted armies, ‘Ard Boyz had a lot of primer in the pictures I saw.  I remember when if it wasn’t painted it didn’t appear on the table, it is still that way at Strategies, but Darren is old school like me.

I’d like to see the Leaf Blowers shave off 1000 points and come to Vancouver in 2010, give No Musk’s Land a go.  My other thought was if a “Leaf Blower” blows ‘Ard Boyz does that make them Fluffers?

Well I better get going I have to prepare for a job interview and watch glue dry…