Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back to the gaming table

One round of grading, research and presentation more to go. But first I have two weeks of relative peace before the insanity starts again. It's a good thing that December is normally such a calm, distraction-free month.

In the last few weeks, I've dabbled a little in painting. Since my time was so limited, I set the Tervigon aside. She'll get the attention she deserves once the semester is over. Instead I picked up some random Cryx miniatures and tried using the oil-and-Turpenoid wash technique to get those nice green inner glows. I don't have a huge interest in Cryx, but the same approach should also work for my Circle Orboros figures. The results were good, but not perfect. With a little more refining, they should transfer well to my Circle constructs. As soon as I find a sunny day and few free minutes, I'll take some photos and post a brief description. There are more than 300 sunny days here every year. So this should happen soon.

I also found a local Warmachine & Hordes league that meets near my house! After painting miniatures and idly reading rulebooks for the last couple years, I'm eager some of these games. My goal is to have 15 points ready in the next two weeks, so I can meet the other players and learn the game. Then I aim to finish 35 points by Christmas, and join the league in January. But first, I have to decide on an army:

Circle Orboros is the most likely choice, because I already have several painted models. In fact, I could meet my 15-point goal just by assembling and painting a Warlock. On the other hand, my Circle collection was assembled using my usual "that looks neat, I think I'll paint it!" approach. and I'm not sure how well they'll work on the table. Scratch that. Given that I'm a brand-new player, I know exactly how well they'll work on the table. Until I learn the rules, whatever army I choose is bound to perform poorly.

Circle it is. Let's get to work!

Programming note: when I started this blog, I intended to use it for writing practice. Masters degrees, even Masters of Science, require a lot of writing and as a visual artist, I was sorely out of practice. My schedule doesn't have a lot of school- or work-related writing in it for the next two weeks. So look for several short blog posts to appear soon. The goal is 300-500 words a day, enough too make those writing muscles smart (like ox!) and strong (like tractor!). I'll try to keep things entertaining, informative and relevant, but apologies in advance if things get a little rambly.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tervigon pt. 01: Experimenting with green stuff

 I've always had an uneasy relationship with soft sculpting media like modeling clay and green stuff. I love its flexibility and the infinite possibilities it offers. But as someone who has one functioning eye (well, one and a quarter, the blind one still has some peripheral vision), I have trouble seeing 3-dimensional forms. Small objects, like wargaming miniatures, look flat to me, more like photographs than real-world objects.

There are ways to compensate. Moving my head from side to side, or rotating an object slightly, gives me multiple views. Then I can use them to extrapolate what the object looks like in 3 dimensions. Most people do the same thing, but with two eyes they don't need to sway back and forth. Strong lighting and shadows are also helpful. My workspace has powerful side-lighting, so I can interpret shapes by the shadows on their surfaces.

This means that I usually stay away from free-form green-stuff modeling. I prefer modifying existing objects, which doesn't require so much frantic compensation and head-bobbing. But I want a Tervigon in my Tyranid army, and there's no good way to make a Tervigon without a healthy dollop of epoxy putty.

The finished conversion is basically a Carnifex model with a modified tail. It's not quite the same as the codex illustration, but I think it's recognizably a queen bug. Aside from the green stuff, I also modified the body so it stands taller than a Carnifex, and whittled down the scything claws, so they look like the standard "claws and teeth" instead of special weapons.

Programming note: The next two weeks are packed. I have multiple research projects due, undergraduate projects to grade and a drawing seminar to organize and teach. there's a good chance that I won't get to do much painting until mid-October. If you're one of the discriminating few who visit this blog regularly, don't lose heart. I'll be back as soon as I take care of my other obligations. And there's always the possibility that I'll need a painting break, just to maintain my sanity. So please, check back regularly.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


It's been a good week for painting. I have some extra time and the new technique is much faster than my old ones. These Devilgaunts are the latest completed project, and there's a Tervigon on the way (probably Saturday).

It took about 8 hours of work to complete these models. The only major hitch was a bad application of primer that left some cracks on the tops of four models. After scratching at the edges of the cracks, I decided that they were stable and relatively smooth. They were also kinda...interesting in a scaly insectoid or reptilian kind of way. So instead of tossing the damaged models in the solvent pot, I went ahead and painted them anyway. If I look closely, I can identify the damaged models. But I'm glad I didn't waste time stripping and repriming them.

Next up: A Tervigon and one more Ravener