Friday, June 17, 2011

Gwen, Cleric of Chauntea

Here is the first of the Dark Sword Miniatures completed for our DnD campaign, DSM 4107 - Easley Masterworks - Female Cleric.

The paint job is not my best, but my friend I painted it for is happy, so I'm happy too. The character is a Cleric of Chauntea, a goddess of nature, so I used browns, beiges and greens on the mini, based on my friend's request.

One of the things I'm proud of on this mini is the shield.  Originally, the shield bears a simple raised triangle in a circle.  This character being a Cleric, I tought she would proudly go into battle carrying a shield emblasonned with her deity's symbol.  So here is what I sculpted with green stuff:

As you can see, it's the same symbol I sculpted with Sculpy and posted a while back.  The miniature looks great on the table, when we fight the evil cultist our DM throws at us.

Now on to the other minis, if I can keep focused on them.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Holy symbol

While I'm still working on the Dark Sword minis, here's a holy symbol I sculpted in Super Sculpey for the cleric player in our DnD party.

Although for his campaign, our DM created his own Pantheon, many of the gods are inspired by the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, including Chauntea. So inspired by this holy picture from a TSR book:

Chauntea Symbol by Mike Schely from TSR Forgotten Realm Book

I created and painted this palm size symbol:

55 mm Sculpey Symbol
 That was a fun Sunday afternoon project, hope you like it.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Have Stargate, will travel

A while ago, I wanted a cheap prop Gate to use in a game of Stargate d20 RPG (sadly discontinued by AEG).

So I hit the web and found several paper models, including a good looking one from Marco Scheloske.  Now I know that the symbols around the ring are not accurate and all, but it had potential and I liked it. To simplify things a bit, I printed the two faces of the Gate and glued them on foam core.  Carefully cut out, it's nice and sturdy.

Now for the Stand I wanted something a bit more durable than the paper one from Marco.  Then I remembered an article I read on the Reaper Miniatures website, The Craft - How to make a Field Stone Wall. Here's my adaptation of this technique to a stonework Stargate Stand.

First, I drew a plan of what I wanted.  d20 is played on a 1 inch grid, and it is reflected in my layout.
Stand template, incorporating a 1" grid.
Then using a large kitchen knife and an exacto blade, I cut the shape into a 2" blue foam insulation block.

Basic shape of the stand in 2" insulation foam.
Next came the drawing of the stones.  I drew at the top of the sides flatter stones that continued on the top of the stand to simulate large flagstones.
Outlining the field stones

Then came the cutting.  Each stone was contoured with a fresh exacto blade, in a rough V-channel.  Once this was all done, I used a small stone with sharp edges to texture the whole thing.
Stones contoured and textured.
After that, I painted the everything with DecoArt "Antique White" and then painted each stone black,
Stones pained black over "Antique white"
and drybrushed grey, with a black "magic wash".  I added a brown wash here and there at the base of stand.  I also added some static grass, which is shown in the last pic.
Grey drybrush, black wash and brown wash.
Here is the final stand, with the Gate and a force of Jaffas coming through, lead (from behind of course) by Apophis in his golden armour...
The completed stand with Gate and Jaffas

Finally, we never played that game of SG RPG, but it was of fun project and it makes a nice display stand for my Jaffas. I guess "build it and they will come" is not always true.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

New Campaign, new minis!

Last year, I started playing in a new DnD campaign DMed by my cousin.  A new campaign means new characters, so I offered everyone to paint a mini of their choice to represent them on the gaming table.

After a few sessions that helped us get a feel for our characters, everyone settled on a miniature from a company I was not familiar with, Dark Sword Miniatures.

So here's the unboxing of the package I got in the mail and my first impressions of the minis.

The blisters in the box nicely protected.

The five characters, plus 2 bonus fig, a rogue and a small cherub.

All the parts cleaned up before assembly.
No way I'll pin this...

All minis (minus one) assembled.
I am pleased with these minis.  The casting is clean, the detailing really nice and the poses, although a bit static are well suited for role playing purposes.  They remind me a lot of classic fantasy book covers, and they should; most minis from Dark Sword are based on concept art by some of the same artists, like Larry Elmore the original artist for the DragonLance Chronicles books.

The only small "con" I might have about the minis is the fact that some of them are multi-parts, in particular the figther in plate "DSM5030 - Victarion Greyjoy" (the one not assembled on the left). The axe and right arm had to be glued to the body at the same time to insure a proper fit.  Not an easy thing to do at this size.  I might not be 100% objective about this. Although I understand the why of them, I don't like multi-parts minis in general.  When used in games, they're more delicate to handle.

But that's just a minor quip, and I will definitely order from Dark Sword again, once I made a significant dent in the lead mountain.

Overall, everyone is please with their minis and now I have to come through with decent paint jobs...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

4e Goliath Barbarian

This year, my teenage son started playing DnD with his friends.  So for his birthday last week I thought I'd get him a miniature for his character.  Subtly, I found out that although he likes my miniatures, he's not interested in trying his hand at painting.  So I decided to go ahead anyway and paint it for him.

His character is a race that can be found in the DnD 4th edition Player Handbook 2, a Goliath Barbarian.
Goliath, source unknown.

Miniatures representing that race are still quite rare, but I was lucky and found one from Reaper miniatures, Goldar the Barbarian.

To determine which colours to use, I looked at pictures like the one above and the description of the Goliaths taken from this races of Stone Excerpt:
"Goliaths have gray skin, mottled with dark and light patches that goliath shamans say hint at a particular goliath's fate. Lithoderms -- coin-sized bone-and-skin growths as hard as pebbles -- speckle their arms, shoulders, and torso. Their skulls have a jutting eyebrow ridge, wide jaw, and occasional lithoderms as well. Female goliaths have dark hair on their heads, grown to great length and always kept braided. Male goliaths generally have hair only on their limbs. Goliaths' eyes are a brilliant blue or green, and they often seem to glow a little from underneath their furrowed brows."

03461 Goldar the Barbarian

03461 Goldar the Barbarian

To paint the skin, I primed the whole mini with black and then applied a base coat of Reaper Pro Paint Granite Grey and Reaper Pro Paint Ash Grey for the dark patches.  I then applied a wash of Citadel Devlan Mud all over.  Turned out OK, but I might get better results next time if I try local applications of Devlan Mud to the shadow areas only.
14608 Gorak the Ravager, Barbarian
Another model that would have been good for a Goliath is Gorak the Ravager, again from Reaper, but it was not available yet when I ordered my mini for this project.

Kratos from the PS3 game "God of War"
That Goldar mini reminds me a lot of Kratos, from the "God of War" game series.  One day I'll order another copy of the model and try a conversion.  And maybe that day my son will feel like putting down is game controller and pick up a brush.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Latest painted minis

Here are two "commissions" of sort.

While my little sister was in Montreal in January, my young nephews got themselves some nice Reaper Miniatures and asked me to show them how to paint them.  Turns out time was too short for proper lessons so I did a quick job on the minis before the family went back to Costa Rica.

Below are pictures of the two fantasy adventurers:

03504 Karahl Farstep, Wizard
03508 Bregol Jagstone, Dwarf Ranger
Even though the poses are static, the crispness of details and the character of the minis are on par with modern Reaper Miniatures.  I really enjoyed painting them, hope you enjoy them too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Casting experiments part 2

As a follow up on my previous post on resin casting, here's a step by step of how I created my simple Dalek mould.

First I set-up a work table in the garage.  I'm working with chemicals, so I'm being careful.  I also found some vinyl gloves at the dollar store, as I read that latex gloves could affect the curing of the mould.

So here's everything laid out:  the two bottles of OOMOO RTV silicone, plastic knives to stir the two components together, disposable plastic cups, an old brush, release agent in the small spray bottle and my "master" already in the cup.

Before pouring the silicone, I followed the instructions that came in the kit and I applied two coats of sealer on my "master".  Then I mounted it on some clay in the bottom of a plastic cup.

OOMOO is prepared by mixing equal parts of the two compounds.  For that, I used two disposable plastic cups on the outside of which I made a mark to measure my volumes.  Some other mould making rubbers require to by mixed by weight.  For hobbyists, it's easier to measure equal volumes.

To mix the two parts, I poured one in the other's cup and stirred gently (to avoid creating bubbles) with a plastic knife.  I thought of using a plastic knife instead of a coffee stir stick because I was worried that wood being porous, it would introduce air bubbles in the mix.  Turns out it was a good idea, the knife being stiff enough and a good shape to scrape the walls of the cup and stir things really well.

I poured the silicone in the cup, to cover the mini and let it cure over night.

Here's the mould once cured.  For a first mould, I kept it really simple and did not make a two part one.  A two part mould properly planned might have allowed me to cast the eye stalk, gun, and plunger in it.  Currently, I have to add all these extra bits to the models.

And here is the master with two resin casts.  The one on the right is the first copy I made and has many air bubbles.  I had more success on my second try, as you can see on the left.  Still, the lights on top were too thin and without air chamber or vents, the resin could not fill them.  On my completed minis, I added them with green stuff.

So that's how I created my first mould and I was ready to create my own Dalek army to conquer the universe!