Thursday, 12 April 2012

How to take decent pictures of your miniatures with your camera phone

For anyone who looks at my blog, I would say 99% of my photos on here are taken with my iPhone (How did I ever survive without this gadget?!), the quality is never as great as it could or should be, and there are more saved on my phone that are too blurry, grainy or fuzzy to publish, but until someone releases a decent reasonably priced camera with an application that allows you to upload photos with the touch of a button, I think like many other gamers and miniature painters, we will stick with photographing our little soldiers with our camera phones.

For those of you who are like me, here's a great little guide on how to take great pictures of miniatures with your camera phone here

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Painting: And it was all yellow! A catalogue on a disaster that turned out fairly well in the end

A sneak peak of what I've been up to over Easter...
After a successful Pirates game on Easter Saturday, I was knocked down with a nasty cold/ flu bug that ensured I was bedridden/ homebound for Easter Sunday and Monday, leaving me with nothing to do except paint and rewatch Burn Notice and inspiring myself to getting some spies painted. [I also watched Sharpe's Waterloo while painting these while humming o'er the hills and far away (Great song!). NO! I refuse to sink time and money into 28mm Napoleonics!!!]

Anyway, I digress... Before being distracted by Pirates, I had ordered and prepped these lovely Henchmen by Artizan Designs from North Star Miniatures, I was picking up one of everything from the Urban Beat Miniatures range (you can see them in the background) just before they were purchased by another company and taken offline (Lucky Break!).

The colour scheme of the henchmen is mostly based on what is on the Artizan website, although it was pretty much what I had in my head to start with, as they will follow the colour scheme on the minion hierarchy in the absolutely fantastic videogame Evil Genius.

So there will be some tougher guards, complete with body armour painted in a red, orange and brown colour scheme.

The MI-6 agent in the foreground was the miniature I painted between layers of yellow (The story continues below the photo). 

Any GW player with an Imperial Fists army or anyone who has ever painted a 30 years war Swedish Infantry unit will feel the pain that was to come, which I hadn't realised I was entering as I undercoated the miniatures in Tamiya Grey Surface Primer between sniffles...

Having been spoilt witn Vallejo whites that would cover black undercoats in one layer, I had assumed that this would be a lazy and simple exercise, after seeing the streaky mess that stared back at me after my first attempt, I soon realised it would take a lot of time and many, many thin layers of GW Golden yellow I would need to apply.

[I checked the online forums after the initial disaster, a few painters who used GW paints pointed out that the best solution for painting yellow would be 1. A white undercoat 2. A basecoat of  Citadel's foundation paint: 'Iyanden Darksun' and then many thin layers.]

Being too sick (and too lazy) to take a 15min ride into WanChai to pick up the foundation paints, I decided to just lazily layer on the coats while watching TV and painting other miniatures. So I began working on the 'not-James Bond' miniature while watching TV and eventually they turned out quite well, once the other detailing and flesh was coloured in.

The lesson learned for me here is that while things might look terrible on the first coat, if you follow the techniques and advice from the many master painters on the web, and if things still look dreadful, paint in the details, the webbing, pistols and fleshy parts to allow your miniature to look more complete and things will begin to take shape! Oh and thin coats... really thin coats and patience make a lot of difference, something didn't quite realise at the age of 13, but now make more sense at 28.  

Painting: The new Citadel paints

We all make fun of GW being the big bad corporate monster of the wargaming world, but then a lot of us started with GW games when we were young, and they do occasionally make a product that I still want to play. (Space Hulk, Dreadfleet is definitely something I want to look at and I've been resisting the charms of Lord of the Rings for many years now!)

But now, they may finally have released something that will mean I pour more money into the GW machine!
Being in Hong Kong, we have a dearth of Local Gaming Stores, in fact, we have one... Which stocks Vallejo and GW paints, most of the time, I use Vallejo paints, but I've had issues with Vallejo paints sinking to the bottom and forming a congealed block I can't squeeze out.

And also, starting out with GW paints, I still have a preference of "painting off the lid". So I am very interested in the new Citadel paints.

I will post a review of the new paints as soon as they become available in my LGS.
But the review found on other parts of the web appear promising:

Monday, 2 April 2012

Painting: His Majesty's Marines

A short break from Moderns and the Falklands project. 

I recently purchased some 28mm Pirates, 3 ships and a Pirate fort from TMP, it's been a project I've wanted to do for a long time. It's silly, potentially outrageous and a great distraction from the usual fare down at the club. Also, it's the perfect excuse to paint up some Horse and Musket era figures, which I've always wanted to do.

With a game organised over the Easter holidays, and these great miniatures having arrived from Black Scorpion Miniatures during the week, complete with a lazy Sunday recovering from a Friday night that involved far too much alcohol, painting miniatures by the numbers was the perfect cure. (Also, I'm taking a break from Mass Effect 3 in-order to make it last longer, and also to ensure I'll have something to play over Easter. =P) 

The miniatures are from the new batch of figures from Black Scorpion, which means they're cast from resin rather than metal, the casts are fairly clean, only one figure had a noticeable bad mold line down his breaches, also, as you can see, one of the marine's swords is quite jagged.

I did the miniature cleaning and undercoating the night before, having never worked with resin miniatures before, and assuming they'd be like plastic miniatures, I made the mistake of filing down a subborn blob of resin from one of the marine bayonets, with promptly snapped!

Realising the difference in properties between resin and plastic, I put my files away and basically just snipped off any obvious bits  of flash and just left it at that. 

With the majority of colours on the miniatures being red and white, I decided on using a grey primer by Tamiya for my undercoat.

The basecoat for the jacket was 'Black Red' by Vallejo, Vallejo 'Camo Black Brown' was used on the swords, muskets, pistols, hands and faces as well as the boots and hats.

The tunic was given a coat of 'Buff' after I couldn't find my bleach bone, all the white was 'Ivory' by Vallejo.
On top of all that, I added, Dark Flesh on the skin, Blood Red was on the jackets.

Here's a photo of them 'near completion: 

And here's a photo of them completed: I painted the bases black at around 11pm, but that's them in their completed state.