Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Done, but not done done

     I think I'm calling the first three assault marines done, or at least almost done.  I still have to do the eyes, which I managed to forget, and chapter badge transfers.  And bits-n-bobs.  And jump packs.  But that aside, they're close enough to done that I'm going to start working on the next batch.  I've been very happy with the results, I just wish I could get them done faster.  I actually had a very nice moment earlier today while trolling some forum, looking at someone's minis and thinking "Man, I just want to be able to produce something like that."  When I kept looking, noticing details and approaches and whatnot, I realized that I had produced models just like the ones I was looking at.  I guess you're so familiar with the flaws in your own work that it's hard to see past them at times.  On to the pictures.

Poor group shot ahoy.
     As you can see, I'm trying something a little different with the pictures.  While the good old centered pics are great, nigh industry standard, they don't do much to keep the eye interested.  Hence, a new alignment.  These shots looked a lot better when I was going through them on the computer.  Probably it has something to do with full size vs. reduced size.  In any case, here's the group.  This shot looks too much like the last group shot for my liking, but I assure you there was actual work done.  I highlighted the black, which should be more evident in future pictures, as well as the red.  The black highlights were sparse because there wasn't much black to be highlighted.  I didn't do much to the red by design.  As I've mused about before, I think the red looks pretty good as it is and don't want it to come out too orange.  Considering I'm using orange to lighten my red for highlight, this feels like a valid concern.  Unfortunately, sparse highlights are sparse.  While it seems intuitive, I was surprised by how little they show up.  Such is life I suppose.

This pic is mostly for the base.
     I also did the ropes, like the one on this mini's right leg.  As with most things, I did three or four layers but it doesn't really show that well.  Another tally for the "time invested vs. results obtained" column.  When I went by EV's house to borrow his massive WFB book, we talked a bit about basing, specifically about flock and static grass.  While I have the standard green flock, I wanted to use the longer static grass on my bases.  EV had some brown grass that I thought I would like to use at the time, but looking at these shots now I think I'll go for a greener grass to stand out more against the brown base.  My basing material, ballast in this case, continues to come off while painting.  I'm at a loss for what to do about it.  I've tried different kinds of glue, different consistencies of glue, different basing materials, applying said materials at different times, and always with the same result: the sand/ballast comes off when I apply paint.  While it isn't as bad as it used to be, it still happens far too often for my liking.  In spite of this, I'm very pleased with the bases so far, and hope to be more so when I apply grass to the bald spots.  My painting has taken a noticeable step forward, and my bases are keeping pace.  It's a very nice feeling.  Hopefully my work will be more apparent when I take some better pictures, but since I've had these guys "done" since Saturday I wanted to get some pictures done and posted.  The full setup shots can wait until they're really and truly done.

Black and writing detail.
     Did you know that tab doesn't work in the blogger UI?  I knew this before, but remembered that I knew it when I tried to use it, unsuccessfully of course, just a moment ago.  Fortunately the space bar still works just fine.  The black highlighting shows a little better on the chapter badge here.  I kept it minimal by design, as I mentioned before, because I wanted the black areas to be black instead of grey.  The edging on the chainsword doesn't show so much, but I assure you it's there.  The chapter badge looks better and is a decent example of what I'm aiming for: a majority black area with enough highlight to show the detail without overwhelming it.  I'm not 100% satisfied with it still, and I've been collecting different methods from the usual sources, so we'll see how those turn out on future models.  I also broke out the Micron pen and got to writing on my models.  The purity seals look ok, but not quite what I was aiming for.  The name on the pauldron looks good, but bothers me.  I decided on using Trojan names from the Iliad for my troopers, and a quick flip for a short name produced Lycaon, one of Priam's non-Hector sons.  This was what I was looking for, so I proceeded to write it across the shoulder scroll.  This is where I made my error.  I did the bottom half of the A, reasoning that the top half was covered by the chapter badge.  While this is true, the chapter artificers would have worked around the badge instead of intentionally obscuring part of their script.  I don't think I'll go back and redo it, because it looks fine as is and I have plenty more to work on, but I will put it in the lessons learned file.

Final detail shot.
     This last shot is more of the same, but does show a bit of the finer details like the blood drops on the bolt pistol and the still unfinished blood drop swinging from the shoulder.  Somehow this picture turned out a little better than the rest in respect to highlighting.  The highlights on the helmet show up, and you can make out some of the armor highlights on the hand, foot, and shoulder pad wing.  The bolt pistol's highlights are entirely absent though, while the chainsword shows in the background.  My photography skills still have plenty of room for improvement.  I still have to figure out how I'm going to do squad markings.  I've never really liked the codex method of particular icons on the right knee pad, mostly because I don't want to freehand all those little things, but also because I like the idea of numbers better.  My old Blood Angels have Roman numerals atop their company badges.  While I like this method, it's a bit too Ultramarine for me, plus it wouldn't play well with the sculpted pads.  I'm considering numbers, whether Roman or Arabic, on greaves, or just anywhere on the model.  Roman would make the most sense, considering the Roman influences on naming, but they can get unwieldy.  I have time to think about it, as the LPC goes until the end of March, which is longer than the middle of March that I thought it was, but still not too far away.

     With deadlines on the distant horizon, I need to push on through the rest of the squad, not to mention the Sanguinary Guard.  To that end I basecoated the red on two minis on Sunday, plus perhaps 1/3 of a third.  I'm hoping that the rest of the squad will go quicker now that I've "completed" the first batch and know what I'm doing.  The SG will be something else entirely, plus there's the banner to consider, so the more time I have to work on them the better.  Hopefully I'll have the assault marines done by the end of the month, but that's probably unrealistic.  Two weeks for the Guard should be good, though I'd rather have three.  We'll see how things pan out.

     I'm getting the itch to paint some random Empire guy, just to see how the Altdorf scheme works, but I'm fighting it until I get the Blood Angels done.  I've taken a leisurely flip or three through the WFB rulebook, enough to get a rough idea of how things work and figure out the relevant special rules.  I'm having issues with army composition though, mostly because I want to have lots of everything.  I want to have a strong magic phase, big blocks of infantry, plenty of knights, and lots of artillery.  While the Empire can do all these things, I think, doing them all at the same time isn't going to work, at least not in the 2000 point range that I'm looking at.  I may be able to adjust the infantry blocks once I read the rules and figure out how ranks and hordes work, while the knights and artillery will get scaled back to fit in.  While it's probably not the best way to go, I think I'll just scale everything back and try to squeeze in everything that I want.  I imagine it'd be "better" to focus on one or two aspects and maximize those instead of sprawling across most of the elements I can take, but I'll figure that out with experience.  Fantasy is going to be very different from 40k and Warmachine since the units are so rigid and relatively hard to adjust.  This last bit in particular is going to be an issue, as deployment has never been my strength.  Ultimately there'll be nothing to do other than get games in and adjust from there.

Addendum:  As a response to EV's post about a mystery project, I tried something new out myself yesterday.  It worked as well as I hoped it would, so there may be a new element coming to these parts in the future.

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