Monday, December 09, 2013

On the Horizon - December 2013

It has been quite a while since I've done an On the Horizon post (hell, it's been a long time since I've written any posts). I'm not sure why I got out of the habit of writing my monthly work in progress report. Posting what I will be working on for the upcoming month always helped me plan out my projects and get my materials in order.  Doing so also forced me to clean up my hobby desk for photography purposes.  As a final benefit, it was fun to reread my column at the end of the month to see how miserably I failed my plan.

So here we go again as I try to revive my monthly column.  I have changed up the format a bit however.  In the past I would take lots of photos of every mini currently in the queue.  Sometimes that would add up to nearly fifty miniatures.  I can barely paint fifty miniatures in a year so it was unrealistic of me to even partially entertain the idea of finishing more than a few in a month's time.  With the new format, I will only focus on a few models at a time.  The featured minis will be those that are nearly complete or suddenly important to me for whatever reason.

December's queue

As you can see from the photo above, December looks to be a busy month.  I currently have sixty-one miniatures mounted for work on my hobby desk (only twenty-five are pictured) but I will only be concentrating on ten.  If I can finish even half of these I will be pleased with my progress.

First up this month is a special edition model from Dark Sword Miniatures.  I'm a big fan of Halloween, so every year I like to paint up a Halloween specific model to celebrate the season.  This year I chose the 2009 Halloween Witch & Blackcat sculpted by Jeff Grace (DSM7506).  Unfortunately Halloween came and went with the model remaining unfinished.  I'm determined to finish her before the year ends though.  Just like the ones I have done in years past, this is not really a spooky/scary miniature.  Instead it's a rather whimsical model of a witch summoning her spectral servant.

I would say she is mostly finished.  Most of the model has received a base color but only portions have been highlighted and shaded (hat and skirt).  I have chosen fall colors to accentuate the theme I was going for and for the most part, I am pleased with the choices.  I am having trouble with the orange on her skirt though.  I'm fairly happy with the highlights I have added (though I may do one more round) but the shadows are not what I'd like to see.  When I try to darken the shadows I end up with a dirty brownish orange that nearly ruins the effect of the miniature.  I have very little experience working with orange so suggestions from readers would be most welcome!

Trouble with orange shadows

Miniature:  Halloween Witch and Black Cat DSM7506  
Status: Highlighting and shading
Progress:  85% complete

Next is a male mage from Dark Sword Miniatures (DSM4105).  This model first drew my eye due to the simplicity of the lines.  It should be no secret by now to those that visit this blog that I am not a fan of "busy" miniatures.  I strongly dislike all the crap some companies like to throw on to a 28mm piece of lead (or resin or plastic).  Well this mini is the complete opposite and I can't wait to finish him.  I think once completed he will join the ranks of my Level One Adventurers project.

Miniature:  Male Mage DSM4105
Status:  Bascoating
Progress:  20%

If I like the previous miniature for its simplicity then I must like this one for her boobs simplicity as well.  This model comes from Reaper's skirmish game line (Handmaiden of Keskura, Icingstead 14579).  I have never played Warlord and probably never will, but I have purchased several models from that line in the past and have been quite happy with the quality of the sculpts.

All joking aside, I like this miniature for the fluid sense of motion and the facial features (especially the hair).  I knew right away that she would be a redhead but I am still undecided on the exact color scheme for the rest of the miniature.  The basecoats seen above are not set in stone by any means.  Don't be surprised to see something completely different when I finally get around to completing her.

By the way, the base is from Secret Weapon Miniatures.  If you're not familiar with the company you should definitely check them out.  I've purchased several bottles of wash from them and they perform every bit as well as, or better than GW washes.  Plus they have a great selection of resin bases.

Miniature:  Handmaiden of Keskura, Icingstead 14579
Status:  Basecoating
Progress: 35%

This cleric is also fairly simple in design yet she has a striking pose.  This one comes from Dark Sword Miniatures as well (DSM4107).  Once completed, she too will join the ranks of my Level One Adventurers.

Miniature:  Female Cleric DSM4107
Status:  Basecoating
Progress: 15%

I've been gearing up for more Legends of the High Seas action and wanted another model wielding a blunderbuss... so I picked up this guy.  He is part of the Rogues I blister (PIR1) from Black Scorpion Miniatures.  I have purchased and painted quite a few models from Black Scorpion (about 20 I think) but I rarely do so these days.  The company switched from metal to resin two years ago and since then, I have found the quality of the casts fairly poor in quality.  It's a shame...I really liked the pirate and old west lines.  Occasionally metal versions can still be found by resellers online, so if you're interested, keep looking.

Miniature:  Rogue
Status:  Basecoating
Progress: 30%

Readers, meet Dima (HFO 007) from Hasslefree Miniatures.  The entire collection of fantasy models from Hasslefree are wonderful but I'm especially taken with their line of orcs and goblins.  I've managed to collect most of them over the last year.  The first Hasslefree goblin I painted can be found here.  With this particular goblin I wanted to continue to experiment with non-traditional goblin skin tones like I did with the first.  So far I must say I'm quite happy.  If the shading and highlighting continue to work out I'll be sure to post the color scheme once he is finished.

Miniature:  Dima HFO007
Status:  Shading, highlighting, and clean up
Progress:  80%

Next is yet another miniature from DSM.  Although still in basecoat mode, this female fighter (DSM4115) is coming along nicely.  Apart from the simplicity of the model, the feature that attracted me most was her likeness to the cleric that appeared in the intro adventure included in the D&D Red Box Basic Set (Alanah or Alena I think).  It's been years since I've looked at my copy so I may be mistaken with her name and the resemblance, but that's the first thing I thought of when I first saw her.  I think I need to dig out that box and do some research.

Miniature:  Female Fighter with Longsword DSM4115
Status:  Basecoating
Progress: 35%

Everyone should be familiar with this Hobbit.  Why it's Meriodoc Brandybuck!  I started painting this version of Merry from GW's Merry and Pippin vs. Grishnakh blister last year.  He was to be part of a diorama in honor of Hobbit Day 2012.  Not only did I not finish him (or the diorama) last year, I missed this year as well.  I did try however and got pretty darn close to completion.  All that is left is to finish his cloak then add a few more details to his vest and hair.  Maybe I will be able to show him off next year for Hobbit Day 2014!

Miniature:  Merry
Status:  Shading, highlighting, and detailing
Progress: 90%

Lobelia was/is also part of the planned Hobbit Day diorama.  She has languished unfinished in the queue as well but not for much longer.  She has only been basecoated but I think the highlighting and shading should progress rather quickly due to the lack of complexity of her garb and the simple color scheme I have chosen for her.

Miniature:  Lobelia
Status:  Basecoating
Progress:  35%

Finally I come to another goblin from Hasslefree Miniatures.  This is Mikal (HFO 004).  He is very much in an uncompleted state but I had to include him since this miniature is my current "ooh shiny" distraction. What brought him from the bottom of a very long queue to my must complete pile was his particular his snarl.  I don't know why I haven't noticed it before but I instantly fell in love with it and wanted to paint him right away.  He obvoulsly has a long way to go but don't be surprised to find him finished before the others.  My hobby A.D.D. causes me to do strange things like put aside miniatures that are 99% complete in favor of another that has been barely started. 

Miniature:  Mikal  HFO004
Status:  Basecoating
Progress: 15%

OK.  That's it for this month.  I need to stop writing and start painting.  There are ten miniatures that desperately need my attention.

As always, thanks for reading!


  1. All the minis are looking good, can't wait to see them finished. I really need to get back at it but my arthritis is giving me fits.

    Thanks for mentioning Secret Weapon Miniatures. I had never heard of them and am impressed by their stuff.

    Those Hasslefree goblins are very "gobliny". They look properly sneaky and mean. My only Hasslefree minis are Blood Bowl/Fantasy Football related and I forget about all their other great minis.

    1. Thank man!

      Glad you are liking Secret Weapon. Not only do they have great stuff but they seem genuinely friendly as well.

      I also like Hasslefree's Fantasy Football line but alas, there is no one to play against on my little island. I think I'll have to exercise some restraint and wait until I actually have an opponent before jumping into yet another project. I wouldn't mind seeing what you've done with your team however!

    2. My advice would be: If you are not already into Blood Bowl/Fantasy Football, don't start! The guy that introduced me to it was a bit of a fanatic and the game totally took over the gaming group for a few years. I couldn't get anyone to play anything else.

      I misspoke a little about Hasslefree. Seems I was confusing them with Shadowforge (I have a semi-painted nun team). Turns out the only Hasslefree mini I actually had was Summer (the cheerleader) and it turns out I gave her to a friend who has a Shadowforge Bunny team and he won't give it back! If you want I could try to get a few pictures of the minis I do have.