Friday, 27 March 2015

You're once, twice, three times a winner...

Right people. As a thank you to everyone who has taken the time to pop along here and/or click like on Facebook, I promised that I would do a freebie giveaway, so here goes...

I'm going to actually do a straight forward random draw, where my 2 year old son will pick 2 winners, who I shall send either a Kingdom Death resin White Speaker pinup or Hasslefree resin Tomoko (I think that this is the limited release version).

I shall do the draw over the weekend and post details hopefully on Monday 30th March.

BUT! I also want to do a fun competition giveaway...

I have on offer, one Kingdom Death Chosen model 


Now, ever since I first saw him, I thought that he reminded me of a mixture between Lionel Richie and Arnold Schwarzenegger!

So, the challenge is for you to create some kind of amusing Arnie/Lionel mashup.
It can be a song lyric, epic sketch, photoshopped image, photo of yourself dressed up as a mix of the two... Whatever you want to do.

The winner will be the one that makes me laugh the most. Simple as that.

Entries to be made as a post on the Black Hand Facebook page - HERE - and closing date will be Friday 10th April.

Have fun. Share if you like. Catch you soon. And thanks so much for following my musings.


Scott ^_^

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Sh... got real!

Time for a completely new and very different piece to what I've been doing of late. I have always enjoyed painting "modern" or "near future" type scenes and models, but I've been more in the fantasy/SF grain for a while, so the chance to do this piece has made me very happy.

I'm now working on the Blacksmith Miniatures' Clio & Erato set, but I wanted to have a little fun with the base work. It's always mind boggling when you see the Tim Burton-esque bases that the likes of Jar and Raffa over at Massive Voodoo create, and more recently the awesome scenery created by Ben Komets for his Crystal Brush 2nd place overall award winner, High Noon.
It's always kind of intimidating, in a "How on earth do you paint such a monstrosity!?" kind of way, and I must confess that I shy away from it a lot of the time, relying instead on little additions - like the watch and table on M'Dusa - to the scene, or paint effects like OSL to draw the eye and help tell the story, rather than going balls out with big scenery, stories in stories and lots of "stuff" everywhere.

I think that one thing that has always held me in check too is that I'm a fan of straight lines in my scenes too. It's weird, but I kind of need them to make sense of what I'm doing. It can be a hindrance at times, but with others it sort of helps... I don't know, but in this case I think that it helps because I could sort of compartmentalise the areas of the scene. I wanted an overall ruined and abandoned look to the whole thing, but with one area where humans do still go, and another where nature is taking over. The actual story of the girls in the scene should unfold when I add them to the base.

Lets do some pics then more words ;)

Early base building and painting (mostly with airbrush, plus some oils for weathering)

I had quite a bit of fun building the various parts in the scene. The back wall and concrete level are made from sculptiboard. The surface was like this already due to being sliced by a band saw. It was ideal for shuttered concrete, so I didn't want to sand any texture out of it. The rebars are just paper clips, which are always useful for pinning anyway, and the top level slides out at the moment to allow me to paint and access the lower level.
The gate is shaped plastic with some old mesh from an old frying pan splatter guard that we threw away years ago. It is perfect for this scale. The upright is a piece of neoprene stuff, which comes in useful at times like this. The hinges, warning sign, barbed wire and plants up to this point are all brass etch that I picked up from Hasslefree over the years.
I also added a bit of brass chain held together by a little padlock that I made out of some bent wire and a tiny rectangular off-cut of the neoprene stuff.
The earth was one of those "I wonder what would happen if....?" things. I mixed Vallejo sandy paste with some pigments and it created this great looking soil. The odd thing was that the adhesive quality of the paste was lost when it bound with the pigments, so I had to PVA glue the plinth and smear on the soil, then rolled it down with my scalpel handle. As it dried it cracked a little to give a superb dark, yet dusty looking ground effect, which was ideal for the scene.
The graffiti was dominated by the Pac Man ghost. I had seen a trailer for a new film, Pixels earlier in the day. The film looks rubbish, but the inspiration was there. The rest is mostly random, though the "Free Hugs" bit I've seen several times before in spooky or dangerous looking places.

Once I'd done this, and weathered it all with oil paints - something that I almost never do, but I was feeling like trying something new! - I let it dry out and set about painting up some additions to the scene as a whole, namely some Mantis miniatures animals and a cat that I had from a long time ago - it's from a Steve Buddle sculpt I seem to recall.
I then placed them, along with some rubble, on the base before adding some grass tufts and some tall grass for good measure that the cat could hide in!

The scribbled graffiti at the top is a nod to the comic strip associated with Clio & Erato.

There's a few odds and ends that I still need to do to the base, but I wanted to make a start on the girls.
Sunday's session was unfortunately curtailed by an airbrush that decided it needed a full over haul midway through painting a primer coat...

With that resolved I managed to get onto the brush last night and decided to paint one of the girls' jeans. Now I'll readily admit that drapery in general is not my forte, but I do love painting denim. The thing with denim is that you can "cheat" a little because jeans tend to fade and weather where they wrinkle, and the highlighting elsewhere can use the same colours.
I've already been asked about the colours and method for "my" denim, so here goes...

The important thing for denim is to get the raw cotton colour right before you add the "dye" colour, so I start off with Vallejo Panzer Aces German Camo Splinter base, which is a kind of organic light grey colour, and quickly highlight it with Vallejo Deck Tan and Ivory. I then added the colour in really thin glazes, building it up by the seams and in the folds. The colour in this case was Panzer Aces Periscope (additionally shaded with german camo black brown), but equally something like dark sea blue or any other indigo kind of colour could be used, or a dark grey brown for "black" jeans, or an olive drab colour perhaps for a chino type look.
Once the colours are in place I did a little texturing. This was essentially lots of extremely thin horizontal stripes in the highlight colour, then vertical stripes in the indigo colour, then more horizontal stripes in a mid-tone and again in vertical stripes. The whole process only takes a few minutes, and is done more on look and feel than distinct method, but once done nicely breaks up any harsh transitions and allows me to easily build up additional wear to the wrinkles, knees, fronts of thighs and such. A little final glaze here and there, plus a bit of picking out the seams and stitches with the black brown and some VMC dark flesh for the orangey gold stitching, and that was pretty much it...

I have more denim to do on the other model, plus leggings, some motif t-shirts and the sneakers for the girl above... I'm going to enjoy this ^_^

Oh, and I've mentioned it on my FB page, but there is a kickstarter running until Sunday - - by Wamp, one of the forums that I frequent.
There were some weekend classes with me available (there may be more...), plus I've helped Brett put together a little kit of stuff that I use regularly, including the eponymous black latex gloves that I'm so fond of (lol). So, if you're in the market for some nice brushes and accessories, I suggest that you get in there, as the prices are rather tasty! ^_^


ps - The Facebook page has reached 497 likes. I still plan to do a give away at 500 (and a bigger one if I reach 1000), so get your FB friends involved if you want to be in with a chance of free toys!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Sometimes it just clicks...

Hi all.

It's been quite a good week or so since the last update, and I had intended to post sooner, but circumstances hadn't allowed for it. As it happened, this meant that today's post could now include one of those little air grab moments...

I finished painting M'Dusa just over a week ago, and previewed her fixed to the base in the last post. However, due to a bit of a dim moment on my part, I glued her slightly out of centre on  the base, and left a void to one side that completely unbalanced the piece as a whole. Disaster! What to do?!
(I should add that at that moment I was really more keen to move onto the next piece that I had planned, so spending more time painting her/something to go with her was not on the agenda!)
Well, I spent a day or so avoiding the desk because I was annoyed at myself, but I did try to think of what I could add that would help tell a story with the piece as a whole.
It was already established from her name that she is some kind of mechanical hypnotic snake lady, and of course the snakes in the head dress and the goggles and stuff add some flesh to the bones of that idea. So to ram that point home I thought perhaps I should add a statue or a bust to the scene for the whole "turn to stone" part of the myth. I hunted through the bits box but couldn't find anything that jumped out at me. THEN I thought a bit more about the steampunk aspect of her persona and picked up my sheets of steampunk and fantasy brass etch that I bought from the Etch-Master Indiegogo campaign a few months back and spied a tiny little pocket watch and chain. BANG! That moment of knowing EXACTLY what I needed to do presented itself to me. Then I spotted an odd drum thing on my desk from a Kingdom Death kit, and thought that I could make a nice table out of that, especially if I can make some nice fine legs... Oh look! Railings on the brass etch! They'll make perfect wrought iron legs! Oh look! A quill! Coins! Lol!
A couple of hours later I had assembled and painted all of my new accessories. I glued them in place and had one of those "That'll do, pig. That'll do" moments. ^_^

I then got some final shots done and shared her on P&P and Coolminiornot...
The response was so positive that I have been slightly taken aback (especially having had a fair amount of negative stuff sent my way on CMON in recent times). The most encouraging event being that Seb Archer, the sculptor, took the time to let me know that he loved my take on her, and particularly why he liked what I had done too. 

Lets do pics before I waffle on any more than I already have... ^_^

She is also in my CMON gallery - HERE - and my Putty & Paint gallery - HERE

She has been my first "gold" on P&P, and just this morning has appeared on this week's "Top Last 7 Days" page on CMON, and for a few moments at least was the number one for the week too. This is something that I don't think has ever happened with any of my pieces - and there is every chance that it will change over the course of the week because there's always new and better stuff coming through- but for a short moment she is there and that makes me happy.

The warm, fuzzy glow from the art challenge has continued as a result and I'm feeling full up with ideas and inspiration! It's ironic after the lack of motivation that I mentioned just recently, but I would guess that most painters and sculptors in our hobby/business would agree that this waxing and waning of inspiration/motivation is a constant companion to us, it is just what you do to manage the highs and lows when they hit.

As a result of this burst of inspiration, I have moved swiftly onto the Clio et Erato piece. I had looked at the comic strip that relates to the girls, and they appear to be living in some kind of post-apocalyptic environment of some kind. With this in mind, I set about building a scene of busted concrete and rusty metal, with lots of overgrown foliage.

BUT! I've not taken any photos of the scene yet! LOL! It's a bit of an unusual thing for me, but I've just let the ideas flow without really pausing for breath. It could turn out great, it could turn out a bit "yeah, but why?", but I'm thoroughly enjoying being in the moment with it - especially when I made a tiny rusty padlock! I'll try and get some shots up very shortly, but I am going to try and complete the base/scenery first, then take some shots before I start painting the girls.

Anyway, if you made it this far, thanks for reading all of this gabbling on. I'll try to make the next post more pic heavy and less wordy.

If you got a bit tl;dr, here's the summary - M'Dusa good. I'm pleased and inspired. New piece going well. You can't see it yet. ^_^

Monday, 9 March 2015

5 days of fun

If you have a Facebook account and you like miniatures then you are entirely likely to have seen a steadily building procession of wonderful works brought about by the 5 day art challenge. The challenge is to show 3 pieces of your own art each day for 5 days, plus to nominate a friend each day too.
I was lucky to be nominated by my friend and paint lord Mark Taylor at the beginning of last week, so I joined in with the "chain" of pictures with a few of my own.

So, this is a quick round up of each of the pieces that I presented, and some places where more images can be seen of each too...

Monday, I started with some older pieces. First up was "The Battle of Epping (Prelude)"

This was one of my first story telling pieces, to the point where I actually wrote an accompanying storyline, which can bere found here - LINK 1 & LINK 2 - along with lots of views. It was one of the most fun pieces that I've ever made, and highlighted almost for the first time how much character you can find in "simple" sculpts.

Next was "Girrrls Gone Wild", which was an idea that I had had rolling around for a couple of years.

 I wanted to do a scene similar to what you see on cinema posters of a gang (see the likes of Kidulthood, The Warriors or Boys N The Hood for reference), only this time a group of girls with weapons. I also used it as a bit of a study at the time of working with various skin tones. More here - LINK 1 & LINK 2

The third for Monday was "Eva La Revolucion"...

A more simple story telling piece, I just thought that the Bella sculpt (Statuesque Minis) reminded me of the classic Che Guevara poster, the rest was just lots of fun. :) More views - LINK - here.

Tuesday brought the next 3 entries.

First was "Impasse", which was another story piece using mostly "simple" Hasslefree minis...

I wanted to do a creepy take on the old test card from 60s/70s television here in the UK. I don't know why, but it did creep me out as a child, and possibly even more so when it was brought to life in "Life on Mars" a few years back. I thoroughly enjoyed putting this particular scene together, but hand painting all of those sides to the plinth were a a total pain in the buttox! lol
Lots of views here - LINK

Second up was more Hasslefree goodness "Size Matters Not"...

A quote by Yoda from one of the Star Wars films made sense for this tiny little Jedi who is facing off against Darth Panda! Interestingly, I designed this one so that a multicoloured LED stand could highlight the funnel shaped tube underneath. More views here - LINK

Third for Tuesday was "Kalee"...

I painted her with all of her optional arms on magnets. She resides in the Hasslefree personal collection, but there are more images here - LINK 1 & LINK 2 & LINK 3

On Wednesday I showed a couple of Studio McVey pieces...

First was "Y'Sala & The Darkness". This has been a piece that perhaps I am best known for through the years and one that I'm still very proud of. It actually started off as a piece to do while I waited for inspiration to strike with a different McVey piece (Isabella), but ended up being a piece that just snowballed in terms of inspiration and motivation. I guess that there were just some good decisions in terms of colour as I think that my technique has moved on a little since then, but it still stands up well next to my current stuff too. I seem to remember that this was painted in the space of about one week of evenings, such was the urge to paint at the time, with a few very late finishes. Definitely not something I would be able to do now we have our little boy, as there's never a chance to take a lie in on a Saturday or Sunday morning!

More views here - LINKY 1 & LINKY 2

Second was "Zeeona". She was actually one of my first commission pieces, but the client just gave the brief of "I trust you to do her the way that you want to". I had a strong Barabarella vision mixed with the acidic colours often seen in 1950s Pulp Science Fiction comics, so that was what I went for. I also made a point of incorporating the base design into the piece as a whole by making the "O" of her name into the eye of the beast holding her...

Both of these McVey models fall into the class of "advanced assembly, patience required" as far as building and painting was concerned. There was a lot of dry fitting and painting in sections to both pieces, but I am pleased with the final look of both.
Further views of Zeeona here - LINKY

Third up was a model that appeared in some early episodes of this blog up to this one - - and that is "Cassandra". It's probably best to read the early episodes to get the back story ;)

More views of course though - LINKY

Day 4 was about "bigger" models with an Andrea piece (also shown here in the blog), the very recently finished Lion God and the Flower Knight that I have also spoken about previously on here.
So, just pics and links here...

Ainariel (VIEWS)

Lion God (VIEWS)

Flower Knight (VIEWS)

Friday I went overboard with my Kingdom Death stuff. So many girls (and so many links!) to show
Probably best to visit my CMON gallery, or Putty & Paint one, for most of the links

Here are some pics though...

Having completed my "allotted" 5 day stint, I have to say that the swell of good feeling and new friends that I have made as a result of this, not to mention the number of personal messages from people who like my works, has all been thoroughly heart warming. Furthermore, I mentioned just recently that I was suffering a dip on motivation and inspiration, but doing this and getting such positive feedback has been just the kick up the backside I needed. On top of that, seeing everyone else's work serves to inspire and provide solutions/ideas for my upcoming pieces too. I'm feeling full of drive to get on again, and with a glut of new stuff to choose from, that is exactly what I shall do!

And in saying that, M'Dusa is done. Below is a first shot, but I'll get more, plus gallery links soon...

If you've stuck with me this far, thanks very much! ^_^

If you are a reader that hasn't yet liked my Facebook page - - please do, as I am really close to the 500 mark, and I plan to do my first blog related give away when I hit that target. If you have already liked, by all means share it! lol! Never hurts to let others know ;)

Expect another update very soon, seeing as I'm definitely riding the wave of motivation. Let's hope I can surf that wave! ^_^