Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Rush

I am painting and building like a madman. I should have some pic updates in a couple days.

I am finishing up a Doll House for my daughters and have both dragons near complete along with some Malifaux models, a Roman Cohort, and of course more Orks. I may try to crank out an oil painting if time permits. I was going to build a Jedi Temple complex for the Star Wars RPG to give as a present but that will need to wait until January.

If you would like a commission contact me soon, January is filling up fast and I have one slot left.

Friday, December 9, 2011

UltraForge Dragon Progresses

Here is an update on the UltraForge Dragon.
The armor is coming along and the flesh is starting to pop.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dragons blocked with primary colors

The dragons have been blocked out with their primary colors by airbrush.

UltraForge Dragon

Games Workshop dragon sans rider.

From this point on it will be a matter of brush work as I highlight the various details.

I am going to create a tutorial once the holidays have passed, that will go into greater depth on how I worked through each stage. For now I am just going to update the blog with basic pics as I advance toward completing the dragons.

I am crazy busy with Christmas commissions and need to concentrate on producing art, as opposed to commenting on it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Astorath the Grim

I am finished with Astorath the Grim.

I may also gloss his mask, as it is supposed to be some type of porcelain-plastisteel.

Overall I am happy with him.

Dragon Pen

Busy, Busy. I'll continue my tutorial on resin in a couple days. I'm now working on two Dragons, and tomorrow a Tree Woman is arriving (shhhh don't tell my wife).

The new dragon is from Games Workshop. As a model it is decent but in my opinion it does not hold up to the UltraForge model. I have primed both models but I have not pre-shaded the models, so details are a little hard to see.

I really like the idea of dragon mounted Vikings, there is nothing better than beards forked in the wind.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Yaaaaa!!! There be Dragons!

I assembled the dragon tonight with some pics. I'll post a proper commentary on the assembly process soon. I used liquid resin epoxy that sets in five minutes, but it needs 24 hours to cure before I can prime the dragon.

That's one bad ass Viking!

Friday, December 2, 2011

WIP UltraForge Dragon Part 1: Prep

I am building an Ultra Forge Dragon for a December Client. I figured I'd create a WIP for it, as it is an awesome sculpt and looks to be a fun resin project. Prepping resin is a bit different than prepping plastic, but once you get the hang of it you can build gorgeous models.

This is the actual resin kit that I will be working with. It has 15 pieces and is suppose to come with magnets for the wings but my kit was missing them. This was not too big of a deal, as I have dozens of neodymium magnets in several sizes but it was advertised as part of the kit and this one was missing them.

Excluding missing parts or major flaws, you should expect your resin kit to arrive with minor flaws and flashing. Resin replicates intricate details from a master model, but it will also carry over even the slightest casting deviation into the final product. Air bubbles tend to be the primary issue confronted when casting in resin. Most professionals attempt to avoid air bubbles by degassing their resin to 29 in HG (inches Mercury) after mixing it, then cure their resin at 60psi or greater. Yet try as one might those evil little bubbles almost always seem to find their way into the production model.

This picture illustrates three of the most common issues encountered when working with resin casts.

The air bubble is located under the neck where the body joins to the head. It is a simple fix with Greenstuff, a two part epoxy that once shaped, cured, and painted is difficult to detect. It should be noted this is the only 'major' flaw I found on this model. A testament to the craftsmanship that went into designing, sculpting and casting this model. I often feel like its the 'resin lottery' when I inspect a new model. It can be a real PIA when there is a serious flaw in the model. One in which the whole build can be delayed by weeks while you send and receive corrected parts from the manufacture (it particularly sucks if this company is in Nottingham, England).

The second issue often present in resin models is joint cavities filled with resin. This joint connects an arm to the main body. This model is so large I actually took my power drill and a 3/16 bit to drill it out. Normally you would use a pin vice and at best a 1/16 bit, but this is a Dragon and it needs a monster bit (well monster for model building).

Flashing is the third issue normally encountered in resin modeling. Flash is not unique to resin and every model builder knows to clean up mold lines prior to assembling a model. This excess resin or mold lines on a model result from the casting process. I scrape and sand the model until I am aesthetically satisfied by the look of the model parts. The one important aspect of removing resin flash is remembering its toxicity.

Resin is dangerous if inhaled!

Wear a dust mask and if at all possible sand and scrape your model outdoors. If you clean it indoors the dust will settle on surfaces, and return to the air every time you disturb the surface. It is not that big of deal so don't get paranoid but you normally only get one pair of lungs, so you may want to keep them as healthy as you can.

The last prep issue normally encountered with resin modeling is warping. Resin is heat sensitive and if the temp is high enough it will bend and warp out of shape. This UltraForge Dragon shows no sign of warping. If it did or I wanted to mod part of it, I would soak it in hot water (150F/65C), remove it (with gloves on my hands), bend it into place, and then submerge it in cold water. The resin will now hold the new shape.

Once the flash is removed and all minor flaws have been corrected it is time to remove the 'mold release' from the model. A release chemical is applied to the mold so that the cured model 'releases' simply from it. As the resin cures in the mold the 'mold release' is also passed onto the surface of the model. This needs to be removed before gluing or painting the model.


You can skip everything else in the model prep, but you must remove the 'mold release'. If it is left on the model, the paint eventually will chip off the model or the glue may fail over time. I find undiluted Simple Green and an old tooth brush is the best technique to remove the 'mold release'. I normally soak the model parts (fully submerged in the undiluted Simple Green)for four hours. Then I scrub the model, taking care to avoid using the brush on delicate parts of the model. Finally I rinse it under warm water, remember if the rinse water is too hot you could warp the model. Once it is free of mold release I let it air dry fully before I assemble or prime it.

Notice the above picture of the Dragon head. If I ran my brush along those delicate teeth (well delicate in this world, fearsome in the game world), I would probably damage them. Soaking the head for 4 hours in undiluted Simple Green with a five minute warm water rinse, will suffice for delicate aspects, such as the teeth, on this model .

Once the model is dry test to confirm the 'mold release' is gone by rubbing a CLEAN finger on the model. Mold release will feel slick, a properly prepped resin model will no longer feel slick but slightly tacky to the touch.

That's it, that's my process for prepping the model for assembly and priming. Next time I will cover assembly of the dragon: pinning, gluing, and priming.

Figuring out my Nikon 3100

My old Cannon G9 died, due to the Chinese assembly plant failing to use Loctite on the internal screws. One of the screws worked loose over the last few years and dropped onto the main board, frying the camera. Normally it only fries the DC board; but not mine, it fried the whole damn camera.

I was fairly pissed as I had expected the G9 to last me at least 5 years, if not longer. As it is now, it lasted 3 years. That's fairly short for a $450 major name brand camera.

Long story short I have a new Nikon 3100, that I am finally figuring out.

Its amazing how much better a model looks when one figures out how to set the proper exposure and Field of Depth.

Both shots are from my new camera, the newer shot has a more appropriate F-stop and shutter speed. If you look close at the new shot you will notice that the loin cloth and arms are now completely in focus. The new black background also helps focus the eye on the model by creating better contrast.

I was spoiled by the automatic Field of Depth finder in my old G9 camera. Yet my new camera seems to grant even greater FOD with the manual controls.

The new pic is set at F25/ 1sec, while the older shot was set at F9/ 1/8sec.   The lighting remained the same.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reaper Hellborn Troll 03407

Spray Booth

This is my $200 DIY spraybooth for my workshop.
I built it from scrap wood, some fluorescent and incandescent lights I had laying around, eight feet of eight inch duct work, and a fan from an airhandling unit designed for a 3000 sq ft system with a disposable furnace filter. The filter keeps paint from being sucked into the fan. It completely exchanges the air and evacuates all fumes in my 1000 sq ft workshop in 5 min.

Its sweet, I never need to wear a mask while I'm spraying in the booth. And if I spray towards the booth anywhere in my workshop I can stay upwind of most fumes. The booth also allows me to cure nasty chemicals in the workshop while I am building terrian tables, by just running the fan.

Here is the motor plate for any tech heads out there who may want to build one.

And here is the Mighty Work Bench

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Where's the Turkey

I'm a mean, green Nob looking for some bird. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

WIP Hellborn Troll

Reaper Miniature 03407   Hellborn Troll

My daughter gave me this miniature to me for my birthday.  She says it reminds her of me.

Here he is blocked out with basic colors.  Normally I prime a miniature with white gesso and wash it in black.  There are all sorts of thoughts on priming with gesso. I prefer it and apply it with an airbrush cut 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol.  It dries almost immediately and cures in 24 hours and works well regardless of the humidity or temperature.  I wash the primed miniature with black ink, which brings out the details and helps with initial shading.

 The troll is about 3/4 done with most of the shading complete. Next I'll work on the base and then tie everything together with some glazes and a final wash.

Friday, November 18, 2011


This blog will serve as a compendium of my current work with tutorials and various modeling techniques that are designed to inform and inspire the gaming community.

I have been gaming for over 30 years with many fond memories of gaming. Gamma World was my gateway into a life of gaming. 

I still remember the day I bought the game rushing from the store to open the box and to see what was inside.  I was shocked to find only a rule book, some weird dice and a simple map.  Where were all the playing pieces?  As I read James M Ward’s introduction, I realized this was like no game I had encountered before.  This was a game where the rules brought you to the world but your imagination and creativity built the world. It was the gateway to a life of gaming and artistry.

Gamma World lead to other role-playing games, which in turn led to the Mother-ship of all war-games: Advanced Squad Leader.  As I grew into ASL I discovered miniature gaming. Now the hook was set for life.  I began building terrain, painting miniatures, designing home brewed rules, and seeking anyone anywhere who wanted to play a game. 

Today I am artist who (among other professional projects) paints miniatures,designs game tables, and models/casts various terrain pieces. I am very lucky person: I have my own studio, do what I love and I serve only the muse that drives me (excepting for occasional re-directions from my beautiful and tolerant wife.)

I hope you enjoy this blog and look forward to sharing ideas, comments and critiques with the wealth of hobbyist who lurk on this inter-web thingy.