Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Speed Painting - Kurff the Swift

I've always maintained that I'm an epically slow painter.  Miniatures tend to take me forever to complete even thought my talents only produce a figure that could be considered tabletop quality.  However, I'm quite OK with my tortoise-like speed.  For me, painting is a hobby itself and a way to relax inside out of the tropical heat rather than a means to an end...such as fielding a new army in a short amount of time.  But I can't help being somewhat awed and jealous when watching videos of painters whipping out a miniature in a short amount of time.  Plus, I've always wanted to enter a speed painting contest at a convention even though I know I wouldn't win.  So for something different, I decided to speed paint a miniature to see what the outcome would be like.

For my test subject, I chose a miniature that has been sitting around for quite some time.  Kruff the Swift (02034) from Reaper is a great little sculpt by Sandra Garrity.  He's an interesting character, able to pass for either a thief or a ranger type.  I'm still unsure of the race though.  When scaled next to other Reaper miniatures he seems rather short but he is much too tall for a halfling and a bit too stocky for an elf.  Perhaps the size difference is due to his slightly crouched posture or maybe he was sculpted to represent a younger person.  Whatever the case, Kurff become my victim for my speed painting test.

Since I have never taken part in an official contest, I was unsure of the amount of time given to participants.  So instead of randomly choosing a time limit, I decided to simply paint as fast as I possibly could and time the duration.  As I started the clock, I had no idea how the miniature would turn out or the amount of time it would take.

Painting was fairly straight forward.  I chose colors that I could easily blend together to reduce the number of options on the palette.  Greens and brows where the predominate hues and most every item on the miniature was painted using some combinations of those basic colors.  And unlike my normal painting style, I made heavy use of washes.  Though I'm not a fan of washes for most applications, I must admit that using them made the painting much easier and faster.  The only part of the mini where washes were not used was the face.  I spent some extra time there using my normal technique since Kurff's face was really the center point of the model.  Most every other aspect is somewhat receded within the cloak and only his facial features and his cloak clasp protrude forward from the shadows.

I will not bore readers with the rest of the details and get right to the point.  The total time from beginning to end was around 35 minutes.  That time does not include prepping the miniature nor priming.  Though certainly not my best effort, I was rather pleased and surprised at the outcome in such a short period of time.  I don't think I'll switch to this style on a permanent basis, but to mix things up a bit, I may try to speed paint other miniatures from time to time.

So I was wondering...have any of you participated in a speed painting contest?  And if so, what is the usual time limit given?  Also, what rules are associated with such a contest?  Must the miniature be in a pristine state (no prepping and priming) or is that usually allowed?  Thanks in advance for any information you may have.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pics of The Hobbit SBG Miniatures from White Dwarf

Although I said I would not be able to post until after the Thanksgiving holiday, I had to make a quick exception.  While messing about waiting for my Turkey dinner, I came across several photo references of the new White Dwarf magazine featuring many of the new Hobbit miniatures scheduled for release.  With my love of GW's LotR SBG, I consider this to be classified as breaking news and worth of a rule change of my self imposed Holiday exile.

The links are below:

Photo courtesy of Tholanan's Photobuket

 This link is to a Spanish bloggers site:  La Taberna De Laurana pics

This link will take you to a Photobucket account with good photos

Finally, although not miniature related, here is a wonderful 7 minute Hobbit mega trailer.  Apparently some creative YouTuber with lots of time on his hands pieced together all the footage from every trailer into one long clip.  Watching the video is definitely worth the time.

Now back to my regularly scheduled Turkey time......

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shae the Silvan Elf

After several false starts and sputters, I'm finally getting back into the painting groove.  I've been working feverishly to clear out the current painting queue to make room for the imminent release of the new Hobbit miniatures from GW.  I've completed several this week but I only have time to post one before the holiday madness starts here in the Keys.

This miniature is called Shae.  She is a Steve Buddle sculpt, of former Spyglass/Eolith miniatures fame (now with GW from what I understand), and like many of the minis from his past, she is both simple and elegant at the same time.  Heresy miniatures acquired the rights to some of Steve's minis in 2011 and I believe Shae can still be purchased there.

Shae was an absolute pleasure to paint.  With the simple clean lines, applying color to the miniature was almost like starting out on a large blank piece of canvass.  There were no ridiculous extra details to mar the figure and make it look comical or overburdened.  Even though the mini is rather plain on details, a better painter than myself could have really made Shae a standout work by adding freehand details on the cloak, pants, or tunic.  Unfortunately I don't have the skill to attempt such a project.  However, I'm completely fine with the way she turned out.  I was aiming to create a wood/silvan elf with a definite autumn theme and I think she fits that particular role rather well.

This is my last post before we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the States so I think I will close by wishing everyone a happy Turkey day!  And for those of you that do not observe our cleverly designed excuse to eat lots of food and drink tons of wine, then I will simply wish you a happy four day period!

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bilbo Baggins

After several non-hobby related posts and a lot of down time, it's time to get the ball rolling again....or perhaps the paint flowing would have been a better phrase.  This update deals with a certain gentlehobbit that will be getting an awful lot of attention over the next two and a half years - Mr. Bilbo Baggins.

I painted Bilbo, or most of him, back in September before I caught the flu.  My plan was to make a diorama in honor of Hobbit Day (September 22nd).  I was working on the scene out of the books (Chapter V  A Conspiracy Unmasked) when the Hobbits, temporarily safe in Crickhollow, tell Frodo they know all about his plans to escape The Shire with the ring.  Frodo wonders how they could have known many of his inner secrets so Merry explains a portion of his "detective" work:

"It was the Sackville-Bagginses that were his downfall, as you might expect.  One day, a year before the Party, I happened to be walking along the road, when I saw Bilbo ahead.  Suddenly in the distance the S.-B.s appeared, coming toward us.  Bilbo slowed down, and then hey presto! he vanished.  I was so startled that I hardly had the wits to hide myself in a more ordinary fashion; but I got through the hedge and walked along the field inside.  I was peeping through into the road, after the S.-B.s had passed, and was looking straight at Bilbo when he suddenly reappeared.  I caught a glint of gold as he put something back in his trouser-pocket."

My plan included the Lobelia miniature, umbrella and all, striding down a hill with Bilbo standing by the edge of the road looking at the ring that had just saved him from dealing with his unpleasant relative.  Merry, in the form of the Merry and Pippin vs. Grishnakh version, would be just across the road near a hedgerow, watching what had just transpired. 

Although all three miniatures were mostly painted, I was quickly running out of time so I adjusted my plans and concentrated on Bilbo.  I finished him late on the evening of the twenty-first but I felt he needed some additional highlighting so I refrained from posting him on his birthday.  Then came the flu and other delays causing me to hold on to Mr. Baggins for over a month.  Better late than never however. 

I have not given up on the project though.  For next year during the Hobbit Day celebration, I think I'll finish up the diorama so that my previous work will not be wasted.

As far as the painting goes, I deviated a bit from the movie version.  His dinner jacked, while certainly eccentric and expensive looking, gave me fits during the painting process.  I felt that the burgandy/purple of the color of the jacket was too close in hue to the waistcoat.  The entire top half of the mini, at least from my eyes, seemed awash in nearly the same color.  My solution was to go with a complimentary color and create a stark contrast between the two garments.  While maybe not 100% true to the movie, and thus the GW version, I like Bilbo much better in this form.  Plus, the color choice was more appropriate for the diorama anyhow.  I have two extra unpainted Bilbo miniatures.  Perhaps I'll paint another at some point in the future to represent the version from the movie.

As a final note, this is my first attempt at a Hobbit....ever.  Well, maybe not truly ever.  I may have painted one way back in the 1980s when I first started in the hobby, though I do not remember doing so.  But since picking the miniature hobby back up about ten years ago, this is my first time.  To those that know me, and my love of all things Tolkien, that admission may come as quite a surprise.  But to be honest, Hobbits have never been my favorite part of Middle-earth.  Yes, as an avid reader I can appreciate the achievement of simple ordinary men/Hobbits rising above the commons and performing heroic deeds.  It's the stuff fantasy is made of.  However, my eyes have always turned to the Professor's other creations -- the majestic elves, the grim Dunedain, the mysterious Istari, and especially the tragic figures of Feanor, Turin, and even Boromir.  Oh well, now that I've painted my first Hobbit, it wasn't so bad.  I guess I'll have to finish up the others now.  That will be no small task though.  Counting all the different versions of Hobbits, I have twenty-seven more to complete.  I better get to work...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Witching Season or Lack of Posts

As far as posts are concerned, October basically did not exist.  The only post I was able to make the entire month was an update stating that I was away with the flu.  Though I was sick for almost another week and a half after that post, I cannot blame my hobby inactivity entirely on being sick (though I can say, I have never been that sick before!).  See, October just happens to be the month when adults are allowed to dress up and get crazy without society looking down upon them.  And let me tell you, we take full advantage of that around here and take our Halloween very seriously.

Once I was feeling a bit better, I started on working on costumes for three different Halloween parties.  The first took place a week before that spookiest of nights and the theme was definitely pirates.  *Switching on pirate speak*  Below be a photo of your captain and me scurvy crew ere we boarded our prize and drank all the rum.

Me and me crew.  That be me beside the pretty lass on the left.

Though me crew came away from the nights festivities with nary a win for best scurvy group, we did manage to pillage away a best couple award.  It was a good night and party, made even better by the fact that we were allowed to discharge black powder pistols all evening without being harassed by the local militia.

Captain Warden and his lass.

Just a few short days after the pirate invasion came party number two.  I scrambled to come up with something scary this time, but I wanted a costume with a bit of a fantasy feel as well.  I thought about something Lord of the Rings related like a Wraith or a goblin, but time was ticking and I was running out of options.  Finally I settled on something completely make-believe and became a.....wait for it...a Dark Lord.  While not completely original, it did look pretty good, especially at night with the lights down low.  The only problem was that several people asked me if I was "that Star Wars guy".

The Dark Lord and his Stunning Simplicity.

Since the Dark Lord was actually host of the party, that same Dark Lord was not eligible for a costume win.  However, my thirst for human souls and winning trophies would not go unquenched for the evening.  Though I could not win my own costume contest, there were no rules preventing me from winning every game of Beer Pong that the Dark Lord played.  And what Dark Lord does not enjoy a game of Beer Pong with a comely partner/prisoner?  By the way, Beer Pong was another reason for my absence.  I spent a good portion of the preceding weeks working on a fantasy themed table.  Sadly, I was unable to complete it by this night so I spent the hours before building a quick replacement table.  The main table is now complete and I'll post photos in the near future.

The Dark Lord uses his special power to ensure the win for he and his teammate.

October 31st came just three short days later and with it, party number three.  Instead of painting miniatures, I found myself cutting plywood and building and painting a viking shield.  It was a fun project though.  I found several references online about authentic viking shields and tried to replicate most of what I read.  The size is correct along with the grip I built on the back.  The boss however is a replica and the edging around the shield itself is painted to look like leather or iron.  It was an eye opening exercise, by the way.  Just the weight of my replica shield was substantial.  I cannot imagine what a fully functional shield must feel like to carry and fight with.

The work paid off.  I was able to take home the best male costume award for the evening.  A bottle of wine was waiting for the winner but perhaps a horn of mead would have been more appropriate.

Well, The Witching Season is now over and it's time to get back normal.  As I sat and painted miniatures for a while today, I couldn't help but smile as I realized that although we may grow up to become responsible adults, the desire to dress up and play make believe never truly goes away.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween.  Now back to the normal hobby stuff......