Bones Miniatures

Dem Bones – Stone Golem

The next miniature I picked was a Stone Golem. In contrast to a standard D&D Stone Golem, this guy is actually pretty short. Still, the sculpt looked solid and detailed and I was inspired by some Greek sculptures I saw (the kind that are painted; most of what we see in museums have their paint worn off by the long march of time). Here’s the miniature after I cleaned him up. I decided not to base coat/prime this one and just go for straight paint-on-Bones.

Stone Golem cleaned

I started with grey for the body, a dusty blue for the kilt, and antique gold for the bracers. I used a lighter grey for the belt and the same antique gold for the buckle.

SG Base Colors

Already I was kind of blown away how this miniature was turning out compared to the last batch. Of course, the fact that it’s a fairly simple design probably helps, despite the amount of detail visible. Next, I thinned out some black paint and made a wash.

SG wash

The pictures really don’t do it justice. I should adjust my lighting. You can see how the cracks in the kilt “pop” now from the reverse angle, though. So far, I’m liking the Privateer P3 paints. I think I have to invest in some 1 mL syringes (without needles) in order to get a bit of paint so I can create washes and mixes without wasting paint by loading up a brush to swirl around in water I’ve put in my palette*. After the wash dried, I used some of the lighter grey (I think I used the same color that was in the belt) to dry brush the entire miniature.

SG dry brush

At some point, I also painted his eyes red, to reflect the malevolent magics that were animating this half-naked, ripped statue. I decided to call this miniature “Done” and base him. I didn’t take pictures of my first attempt. I was horrified at what I had done. Fortunately, when you use Elmer’s glue to affix your basing materials, you can just peel them right off (though they stay on perfectly well if you’re not trying to remove them).

SG based

It’s not bad, actually. I’ll probably apply just a bit of extra color to the brown clumps, but overall, I’m really pleased with this miniature. It’s the best I’ve done out of the Bones Kickstarter minis so far, and one of my best overall. I might actually take this one over to my FLGS for their monthly painting contest (although, most of the entries I’ve seen are “busier” miniatures than this one).

* Funny story, I use distilled water to thin my paints so minerals in the water don’t discolor the paint. I’ve also been using distilled water to clean my brushes. Of course, one must PAY for distilled water. It occurred to me just this weekend that I could use tap water for cleaning my brushes. DUH! *faceplam*
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Dem Bones – Fire. Fire! FIRE!

For my next magic trick, I shall bring light to fire.

Fire UnwrappedOne of the challenges I knew going into the Reaper Bones, was how to paint the translucent miniatures. One school of thought is that you need only a few washes and highlights and you’re done. Well, my skills really aren’t up to that challenge (it’s harder than you think since thinned-out paints don’t have a good track record of adhering to Bones miniatures). Another school of thought is to just base them and move on. After gluing it to a base, I decided to take a third option.

Fire Based

Come to think of it, I think I forgot to wash this mini. No matter, I wasn’t painting it anyway. Owen K. C. Stephens (whom I spoke to several times at Gen Con, yet not about Reaper Bones at all) posted on Google+ his technique of highlighting the fire with Sharpies and basing the minis on LEDs.

guinness-brilliant

I happen to have a plethora of Sharpies. You could even say I have myriad Sharpies in my basement. My first wife was an avid scrapbooker and she bought stuff. A LOT of stuff. Stickers, stamps, paper, paper cutters, Sharpies, gidgets, woo-has, Wangdoodles, and Hornswogglers, and Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids. Well, I gave most of it away after she died, but I kept a paper cutter (useful for cutting out map tiles) and the Sharpies (not to be confused with Shar Peis). So, I used red and orange to highlight the edges of my fire.

I found a source for flickering candle LED tealights on Amazon and bought 10 or so.I figured out how to remove the flame tip from the LED (it requires application of a sharp object).

LEDs

After carefully measuring the size of the LED, I drilled a hole in the base of the mini. I actually went a little too deep and off-center. Next time, I’ll drill the hole in the base and the mini BEFORE I glue them together so I avert the near-disaster that would be drilling through the side of the mini. I then glued the mini on top of the LED. It sits a little high, but apart from removing the LED from the tealight base and having wires run from the mini to some other location, this will do for now.

On FIRE

Unfortunately, the Sharpie didn’t show up quite as much as I’d hoped. I should’ve grilled Owen more on his technique. Still, it looks pretty good

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Dem Bones – Not Reaper Bones, but still miniatures!

Since I have a ton of unpainted minis, while I’m going through my Reaper Bones, I’m also painting up some of the metal minis that have languished, paintless and naked for far too long. Since my goblin pirate campaign is going strong, I’m concentrating on painting up a bunch of pirate minis right now.

Powder MonkeyFirst up is a Powder Monkey that came with the goblin gunslinger mini I painted several months ago. He’s not really going to have a major part to play, but I think I will throw him on the ship just for fun.

CaptainNext is a pirate captain. He’s a lot more civilized-looking than the main antagonist of the campaign so far, so this mini might stand in for a different pirate captain whenever I need one. Close inspection will reveal that I mistakenly painted his hands as gloves (he only has bracers and the cuffs of his frilly shirt stick out from under them). By the time I realized those were NOT gloves on his hands, I couldn’t be arsed to change it….so he’s wearing gloves that his shirt partially covers AND bracers. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Pirate wParrotFinally, my personal favorite of the batch: a one-legged pirate with a parrot. I especially like the parrot, even though it looks like I need to go back and paint the parrot’s eye. I used a scarlet macaw for reference.

All of these miniatures were painted with a combination of Vallejo paints and Privateer Press P3 paints. Unlike the Bones miniatures, I primed these before painting them. There’s no step-by-step photos because I’m mostly just showing them off (although you can see them in various stages in the backgrounds of some of the Bones photos).

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Dem Bones – Pirate Lass, Famale Gnome, Dwarf Pirate, and Totally-Not Space Marine

Sorry for the LONG delay. Gen Con happened. For my next painting trick, I chose a smattering of smaller miniatures. To start, I washed them all in warm, soapy water, gave them a good rinse and let them dry.

All 4 Clean Reverse All 4 Clean

Two of them, a Nova Corp Female and Mariel Twinspar needed to be straightened out. You can see here how much they were leaning.

Unwrapped & Bent

To straighten them, I boiled a small pot of water. I also prepared another container of iced water, not unlike one does when one is blanching vegetables. I held the minis in the boiling water for no more than ten seconds. I used a hemostat for the first one, which actually caused a noticeable dent in the base.  The other I just used my fingers and immersed the base. I could feel the plastic change and the minis straightened themselves out, mostly.  To fix them, I plunged them into the ice bath. This was the result: Straightened

After that, I trimmed them as best I could, but I’ve found, so far, it’s really hard to tell what needs to be trimmed when Bones are unpainted. For these four, I decided to go with a base coat of Cold Grey.

All 4 Basecoat All 4 Base coat reverse

The base coat did identify a few areas I wanted to trim. I then painted a few other minis while I waited for my base coat to dry. Once the base coat dried, I started putting on some colors. Much to my annoyance, I noticed some of the paint didn’t adhere as well as I would have liked. I’m not sure if this is an issue with the consistency of the paints or if maybe I just didn’t shake them enough. I think on the next set of Bones I paint, I’ll do away with the base coat altogether and just put the colors I want directly on the unpainted surface. I’ll be sure to pick just a couple (or maybe just one) of the minis I’m not likely to ever use (like Mister Bones) for that particular experiment.

Ingrid 1st Colors

Ingrid here is going to end up standing in for a female halfling pirate in my campaign named Rosie Cuswell. I’m going to go with a darker palette for her.

Gruff 1st Colors

Gruff is going to stand in for another NPC in the same campaign, Ambrose “Fishguts” Kroop. He’s not a dwarf, but rather a fat, drunken, ship’s cook. This particular miniature is large enough, scale-wise, to easily pass as a slovenly human, and so he shall be. Shortly after I finished today’s painting session, I drilled out the hole in his cleaver. Though his initial paint job will make him look pretty clean, I’m going to try to figure out a way to dirty him up. Hygiene has no place in a pirate ship’s galley.

Mariel 1st Colors

Mariel is also going to stand in for an NPC, Sandara Quinn. She’s one of the PCs’ staunchest allies and even though she’s a priestess of Besmara, I’m going to go with a bright, pirate-y color palette because this miniature will probably end up being used for lots of female pirates in the future since I have a grand total of two female pirate miniatures.

Nova Corp F 1st colors

This is the first Bones mini that actually got unwrapped, aside from Kaladrax the Reborn. Her baggie was never sealed, so she fell out when I was going through the Vampire box. I’m going with a military-style palette because these Nova Corp minis are going to be used for just about any non-Imperial security force in future Star Wars games (especially Corporate Sector Authority Espos).

—- You can’t tell, but I went to Gen Con in between writing the first part and finishing this blog post —-

Since I was not satisfied with the way my Vallejo paints were performing, even on the base-coated minis (and maybe the sculpts weren’t that good, either), I purchased a whole MESS of Privateer Press P3 paints during the hiatus at Gen Con. I finished up the miniatures with those.

I cannot say yet how well the P3 paints perform on naked Bones versus the Vallejo, but they worked well enough to finish up the minis. Based on a few metal minis I painted at the same time (there will be a brief post about those later), I think part of the problem is with the Bones minis themselves. I think some of the sculpts just aren’t as detailed as some of the others, so when I paint them together, I get inconsistent results. Mariel vs. Gruff is a very good example of that. Mariel just didn’t see to have a lot of definition, whereas Gruff had more. Neither of them had as much as the fire giant.

So, I’m less than thrilled with the way these turned out. It also didn’t help (particularly on the Nova Corp Female) that my hand was shaking too much to get some of the lines as fine as I wanted. If I had to rate my own work, I would rate Mariel as poor, Gruff, Ingrid, and the Nova Corp Female as just O.K.

Mariel Front Mariel ReverseI think Mariel suffered from a lack of detail in the sculpt.

Gruff Front Gruff ReverseGruff turned out OK. The inconsistency of the paint on his shirt and do-rag actually helped dirty him up.

Ingrid Front Ingrid ReverseIngrid turned out OK, too. Her base was mostly rocks, and my dry brushing didn’t come through in the picture as well as I hoped. Neither did the glossy effect I attempted on the gem in her hand.

Nova Corp F Nova Corp F reverseThe Nova Corp Female turned out OK, too. My main problem here wasn’t a lack of detail in the mini so much as it was unsteady hands when trying to paint fine lines.

Next up: I’m going to experiment a bit with FIRE.

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Dem Bones – Fire Giant Warrior

Disclaimer: I am not a competition-quality painter. My skills are OK for table-top use, but I won’t be entering any contests any time soon and there are definite areas in which I need practice and improvement. Also, I apologize in advance for any wierd formatting issue that occur due to the number of images. I still haven’t got the hang of how WordPress deals with multiple images in a post, particularly if I want to have them side-by-side.

Some of the Reaper Bones miniatures require assembly. I wanted to see how easy this was, so I started with one of those. I chose a Fire Giant Warrior for this. He has only two parts, unlike Kaladrax the Reborn (though I am really eager to get to that dragon). You can see in the following picture this Fire Giant Warrior unassembled (you can click the picture to see the full size):

IMG_0618

Since Bones are cast from a type of resin, I suspected a cyanoacrylate glue might be ideal. I hadn’t had luck using this type of glue on metal miniatures (in fact, I haven’t had decent luck with ANY glue on metal minis; I end up using a quick-set epoxy, but it’s wasteful and can be messy). I happened to have a bottle of Gorilla Super Glue sitting around, so I tried that. These are the results:

IMG_0619 IMG_0620

It looks like it worked! Bond time was not instant, but the pieces fit together tightly enough that it’s not an issue, and the piece has sufficient strength for tabletop play. Perfect! Now onto the paint job. According to Reaper, one can paint on Bones miniatures without priming them first. From what I’ve read, this really only works if your base coat is NOT diluted. This is a really large miniature so I’m going to prime it anyway, then base coat. I’ll wash the miniature first, of course, to get rid of any residual mold-release goo. Priming, as always, lets some of the details really pop.

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Unfortunately, the primer I used, light grey Rustoleum Clean Metal Primer, is NOT suitable for Reaper Bones miniatures (works great on metal minis, though). It never really dried and remained tacky despite drying overnight in a dry, well-ventilated area with good air circulation. Fortunately, odorless paint thinner, such as my wife uses for oil painting, got most of it off and appears to have removed the last vestiges of anything tacky. I will attempt to paint the mini directly, then. I’m really glad I didn’t try the dragon first. Since the Fire Giant Warrior I selected is fairly large, I decided to not use my  regular miniature painting paints for the base coat. I wasn’t worried about quality, rather, I was worried I wouldn’t have sufficient quantity. Fortunately, I had some DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint handy. I used Lamp (Ebony) Black for the base coat. It went on great. When wet, it looked like it was going to obscure all the details. My fears were assuaged when it dried, however.

IMG_0627 IMG_0628

Next, I painted the flesh tones. I used a dark flesh tone. I was going to go with Terra Cotta, but it looked too red. I dry-brushed the chainmail and did a brown wash on the furs and a red wash on his hair (I want to give the appearance that his hair is fiery. This didn’t really work as well as I’d hoped. Perhaps my wash was not thin enough. Anyway, I pressed one, dry brushing with orange, then yellow. I also slapped some thinned gold paint on the various decorations and painted the armor, sword and other steel bits. I decided to make his helmet and girdle red. For some reason, the red paint acted like it was too thin, even though I did nothing to thin it out. I’ve noticed some of my Vallejo paints act like this. Maybe I didn’t shake the bottle enough (they tend to spend months not getting used).

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To finish him off, I need to fill in the details. When I got all the leather painted, I did a wash with smokey ink. I also put a layer of a darker red on the helmet and girdle. It worked much better and didn’t look quite as much like a bright red light on top of his head. I always have trouble with faces and hair, especially if I try to add layers and depth to the hair, as I tried here (I wanted to give the idea that his hair was fire). It didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped, but at some point, I needed to just stop and call it done. So, it’s done.

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Dem Bones (Reapermas is Come!)

Last year I participated in a Kickstarter run by Reaper Miniatures; the Reaper Bones Kickstarter. On Wednesday, my miniatures arrived.

2013-07-03 15.02.33 2013-07-03 15.22.50

You can see in the second picture, one of the opened storage cases (far right), the Vampire-backer level box (right center), the add-ons (left center), and Kaladrax the Reborn (far left). Kaladrax, when assembled, is going to be about the size and weight of my cat. The box with the Vampire-backer minis contains 236-ish miniatures. I added on an additional 8 including Kaladrax (and mistakenly ordered a second set of Storm Giants). Unfortunately, my Clockwork Dragon did NOT show up. Obviously, it was an error in the packing process and I’m sure Reaper will take care of it when they have time. It’s REALLY unfortunate because that was one of the ones I was most looking forward to seeing. Ah well, it just means I’ll be having another good mail day in the future.

It is truly an insane amount of miniatures. I’ve only unwrapped a couple of the miniatures at this point because I don’t want to feel overwhelmed with the amount I have to paint. Also, I want to try a blogging experiment. One-at-a-time, I will pick a miniature (sometimes I’ll pick a specific one, other times, I’ll just reach in and grab one), assemble it if neccesary, then paint it and blog the results. This might encourage me to actually paint a significant number of them. It might not, but I’m going to try.

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