Posts Tagged With: Dem Bones

Dem Bones — Happy Valentine’s Day!

I wrote a brief story and painted a couple of miniatures for a contest in a Facebook miniature painting group. I thought I’d share it here:
(The contest rules were: “… choose two Bones! miniatures, paint them as a loving couple, and tell us their love story. Don’t feel mired in convention, either… just have fun with it. There are no politics here… man and woman, man and man, man and beholder… we don’t care, just keep it consensual and ‘romantic.'”) Sadly the two miniatures I chose did not have very finely defined detail; a failing common to some of the earlier Bones miniatures castings.)

She was a lady of refinement, daughter of a lord, lost in the Bleakmere. He was a scout for the Mucklebones tribe, one of their most fierce hunters. Draak had her in his sights, ready to shoot the smooth-skinned interloper down. There was something in the way she carried herself, a regal bearing, a quiet dignity in the face of all the dangers of the swamp.

He stayed his hand, and instead showed her the way to safety, revealing himself only at the end. Alora was shocked by her clandestine watcher, her hidden protector, but saw honor and nobility in his eyes. Though they were from different worlds, Alora reached out to him.

“Stay with me. Together, let us discover the wonders of this world.”

Alora & DraakDraak’s heart leapt. Ever since he was hatched, he explored. He knew there must be more to see than the twisted trees and black pools of Bleakmere. He took her hand and let the woman sweep him away. Through thick and thin, fair weather and foul, Alora and Draak traveled near and far, never leaving each other’s sides. Companions true, their love for discovery, adventure, and each other led them to experience all the great adventures the world offered.

Alora & Draak 2These are Reaper’s Bones Juliette Wizard and Lizardman Spearman. Juliette must have been one of the earlier castings of Bones because her features are very soft and poorly detailed. Even Lizardman Spearman suffers a bit from lack of detail around the face and chest (though his tail and legs were really nice). She photographed much redder than her skin tone really is and the subtle dry-brushing in her hair didn’t come through at all. Before I painted her, I looked on Reaper’s site, and I couldn’t even find the Bones version of this miniature. Obviously, Reaper wasn’t happy with the casting.

Categories: Bones Miniatures | Tags: , , , , ,

Dem Bones – Eye Beast

Eye Beast Unpainted

Rawr! Imma eat you!

Ha! It wasn’t fifteen months this time. But truth be told: I had this mini pretty much finished the whole time and never got around to actually doing anything with it. Behold, the fearsome, not-a-beholder-kin, IP-free EYE BEAST.

The Eye Beast requires no gluing. It even stands up on its own without weights or the boil ‘n bend straightening method. It has a lot of deep, craggy detail, and really big chompers. Pictures I found on the Internet showed it painted in all sorts of garish colors by artists more skilled than I. I didn’t want the bright, psychedelic look, though. I wanted something gritty, dark; a creature that would descend upon you from the depths of the underdark and EAT YOUR BONES.

So, I painted a black base coat.Eye Beast Base Coat I went with grays and browns for the highlights and found an ivory color for the massive teeth. For once, I wasn’t worried about how I was going to paint the eye. I did an iris AND a pupil! There were also a bunch of little eyes here and there all over its body, so I had to detail those, as well.

The base has some nice detail hidden in the rocks, like a sword. For some reason, I had the entire miniature finished EXCEPT the base and just let it sit for months and months (fifteen of them!). Eye Beast Mostly DoneI wanted to put little bits of flesh and blood on the teeth, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned through painful trial and error, it’s this: if your skill level isn’t up to snuff, the more details you try to add the worse it looks.
Finished Front

Finished Reverse

Unlike my mother, this guy really does have eyes in the back of his head!

I’m not an expert painter by any stretch of the imagination and I’m not painting these for contests or to display in a museum. Voltaire once said perfect was the enemy of good and in publishing, perfection is certainly the enemy of “done.” So, I’m calling this one done; it’s good enough for me. Err… except for the base. I still need to paint that sword and finish those rocks. I’ll get to that before I start my next miniature.

As promised, here is a picture of the two minis I painted concurrently with the dragon from my previous post. I still need to finish the bases and get at least a pupil or something in those eyes. Time to break out a tooth pick. I’ll put another picture of the dwarf up when I do my next mini; the beard looks better than this picture shows. I wanted to show off the shield, and now I see there’s a spot I have to touch up. The lady’s hair looks better in person, too. It’s not just a blob of brown; there’s nuance, I swear!
Dwarf & Female Greatsword

Categories: Bones Miniatures | Tags: , , , ,

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.


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).


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.


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 – 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.

Categories: Bones Miniatures | Tags: , , , ,

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):


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:

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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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Categories: Bones Miniatures | Tags: , , ,

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