Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The original Cartoon

The cartoon that inspired it. Cut this out of a newspaper or something, and stuck it to the top of my work box from a past career. In that work place, the big thing was to have a small tool box, and customise it. Some guys just wrote their names, one guy pasted pretty girls all over his, I just pasted a series of cartoons to mine. Wanted to be different, and not give the political Correct police an excuse

Catch ya later.

Far Side Humourous "Flat" sculpt

"I told you guys to slow down and take it easy, or something like this would happen"

One of my more favourite "Far Side" cartoons, where castle defenders, manning a catapult, are receiving a telling off because they have just accidentally launched one of their own guys from the catapult.

The edges aren't squared off yet, the 'lumps' you can see are beads of water from where I was trying to smooth the surface down. It looks a bit bowed because it is; I balanced this on my hand under the work light so the shadows could make the figures stand out.

This could be labeled a plaque, a flat figure or a demi round, given it is mounted to a background plate, it would be a plaque.
(Oh, quick legal bit; All rights reserved of original artist; intended as a study piece for personal use only. Not intended for commercial reproduction)

Similar in style to the Greek and Roman friezes, partly rounded figures carved into or onto walls.
So there is a long history of this kind of sculpting taking place.

This is also a practice piece, to get me used to working with putty, smoothing it, and gain confidence with handling of it.

I have several projects still in the pipeline, so this practice of handling the putty is good practice, and a bit of fun!

Thinking about it, this may be the first post that is a "miniature moment" and tackles humour.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Basic miniature photography

Photographing miniatures.......seem some great photos, seen a lot of photos that were the best that people could manage, and seen some others that made me wonder....

A few key items of equipment
- A camera (even a point and shoot can give good results)
- A tripod for the camera, or a stable stand for it
- A soft, diffused light source. Daylight standard flouro tubes are better, incandescent globes masked with a plain white sheet of paper give good results, bare bulbs create colour shifting in the photo
- A neutral background drop cloth.

In the photos above, you can see a simple tripod, a light blue cloth for the backdrop, and a light that has a daylight standard globe (It's an Ott-Lite, if you're wondering about the brand name).

I hang the cloth from my two workbench lights by use of bulldog clips, arrange the tripod and camera, switch on the light, and arrange the mini I am going to photograph.

In the second photo, you can see two reflectors I used to soften the shadows on the figures 'dark' side, one form the non- lit side, and the other from underneath, to help fill in the underside of figures (avoids long dark shadows under chins, noses, that kind of thing)

The use of a tripod is to keep the photos consistent, and one easy thing to do, once you have finished mucking about with set up, is start the self timer on the camera. press the button, camera counts down, click, photo. By linking the camera to tripod and self timer, there is nil risk of having a camera wobble at the last moment.

Like everything else, if the time is taken to prepare properly, then the results are that much more pleasing, and that little bit better.
The challenge is in finding the knowledge.

Colour Swatches

Previously, I mentioned noting colours.
With my style of painting figures, there can be some time (sometimes months) before I can return to the workbench.

Then I look at a figure, and realise that I need to touch up this area, or do the part on the other side of the figure that I couldn't get to while I waited for the paint to dry, whatever.... next question, what exact colours were used, in what ratios...?

Noting the colours used and the ratios for mixing is a good practice, however I am a big fan of simple, fast and easy when it comes to records. So this is my solution, which is nothing new.

This type of recording has been used in industrial printing for years (and many many years at that), and I think this had a few advantages.
- You can spot which colours you used
- You have a way of checking your colours, so they are of a consistent shade across the figure
- You save time by having a ready mix formula and a ready comparison piece.

All that you need is a something to write with, and some blank index type cards. (Best would be a high quality white card, rather then a lined, slightly yellow grey index card. I use the blank business cards or invite cards used for weddings; a small $2.00 pack will last me about a year to two years, depending on experimentation use)

Just a thought.....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Third figure finished

..but about the second in the production line. From Pegaso Miniatures, this is the "Chinese Lady", known to friends as the "China Lady". Its interesting to see the evolution of painting skills over the space of one figure. The jacket is not so great, flowers better, and skin tones better still.
Poor thing got sprayed with oven cleaner a few times as I sorted out paint schemes, looked at the results the next day, and went "Well, that didn't work...." and started again.
Which means, if something isn't right, don't be afraid to rework it.
Vallejo acrylics were used for the paint, and this is where I discovered the importance of keeping colour swatches. Because I had to focus on other tasks, when I first returned to the bench, I couldn't remember the exact ratios of colours mixed; PANIC! So after some trial and error (and a small amount of cursing) I now note and paint on a small blank business card what paints, in what ratios and a colour sample provided. Saves a lot of fuss and bother, particularly if you have to revisit a figure some time later. (I'll provide some examples later)
Oh, while it may seem I have been incredibly productive in a short amount of time, really, these have been done over the space of of about months, maybe a bit longer. Just adding them in this fashion gives the impression of "All of a sudden....."
In the pipeline is Pegasos Centurion Praetorian (75mm), which I have been advised is not strictly accurate, but 'looks good' (or appeals to easily recognisable stereotypes).
Still mucking around with the fur texture, hope to post that within a week.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Other sites I visit...

...added two other sites to the links gallery.

Mig Productions have a reference gallery with a lot of links to other areas. Handy to visit if you are going to do some ground work for a diorama, or do some part of a building for a figure setting.

It also has some links to doing various textures, such as brick work, steel in various stages of rust/ non rust. I Added it as a quick link in the link section, so if you want, you can reference it if you want either references or ideas.

Browse the forums there too, it is amazing to see what those people do in the way of weathered vehicles of all kinds. And they share how they do it too. Recommended to visit if seeing vehicles in something other then brand spanking new condition.

**Edit to the above; I modified the link so it goes to the main site. Move into forums from there. Earlier links lead to a 'no such page' result.

The other is CG textures, shots of various textures of the world. Fur, flowers, paving, skin, so on.While it may help Computer Graphic designers, it is also a handy idea if you want to depict the difference between a coarse cloth like a potato sack or sand bag, as opposed to a fine fabric like satin or cotton ( a ladies dress or flag respectively)

I am planning on doing some more fur experiments this weekend. I'll post the results later.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

First figures ever finished, pt 2

And this is the second figure ever done. Well, its another MiG Productions, this time a Russian Pilot, operation Barbarossa, 1941. Piloting a Polikarpov I-16. The base I made up, it seemed a shame to have an aircraft just sitting on the ground/ desk top. So I sanded off the base till the wings. fuselage were level, mounted it to a brass rod, then inverted a small can to use as a base.
Worked okay, for a weekender project. The biggest challenge was marking out the Star on the base, that took me a few goes.......
The paint scheme on the can was supposed to simulate the pattern painted on the fighter model itself, but darker, so as to make a distinction between the two.
Pleased with it overall, nice break from brain straining flesh tones, as a newbie painter.

First figures ever finished, pt 1

Above is a 40 mm Napoleonic Soldier, by MiG Productions. (Stands about an inch tall)
While I had started two other pieces, they were of a different size, finish and detail level. So I did these as quick little jobs, just to get some sense of accomplishment.
With the other figures (to be revealed), there was a higher level of detail and finesse involved.

Plus the fact that often I messed up, so had to strip paint off and start again.

So it was nice to paint this little fellow up, straight through!

Monday, May 4, 2009

And the purpose of this blog is......?

That is a good question.
Gave it some thought off and on over the past few days......

Realising that I enjoy being able to rewind the process of creating a figure, I examined the other websites that I participate in, and realised that sometimes, some digital digging has to be done (No, not with you fingers, but through a digital archive)

So I thought it prudent to have one spot for my own work, much easier to search through.

Another reason is that hopefully when I look back, I can see how I have evolved over time, at least one facet of my personality will have.

The third reason is that I hope to sneak some philosophy through every now and then.

The other sites I post my work in progress on, I will continue there, as there is some great feedback and community there.

Some sites, however, require off site images, so that's another reason for the creation of this blog. Save the hosts bandwidth issues, makes life a bit easier, shunts responsibility back to the person posting the images.

That will do for now.