Posts Tagged With: Reaper

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.

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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

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Dem Bones – Fire Dragon

It’s been a while since I did a post about my Bones miniatures. Over a year. Fifteen months, actually. In an ideal world, this post would read something like this: I had a blast the last fifteen months painting my Reaper Bones! I was having so much fun, I didn’t have time to blog about it, so you all will never know all the painstaking work I put into painting these miniatures. Instead, enjoy these pictures of the whole painted horde!

I could write that. It would be a LIE.

I hardly painted at all those fifteen months. I was busy. Life got in the way. I wasn’t really playing D&D or running a game. Etc. etc. Blah, blah, blah.

Guess what? HOLY COW there’s a real, honest-to-goodness update here!

Fire Dragon 1 - Assembled-UnpaintedI painted a DRAGON. Not just any dragon, a Reaper Bones Fire Dragon (clicking on the pictures brings up a larger version).

Everything glued together really well. Superglue made a fast, strong bond on this miniature. It seems to work better with large areas to bond rather than something small, like a hand. There was relatively little flash on the miniature, but it was very front-heavy. I glued 1″ steel washers to the feet and it still flopped over. I glued 1.5″ bases to the washers and it was still unstable. I’m thinking of cutting a wood block to 1″ x 2″ and screwing the two bases to it, then painting & flocking the wood.

Now, I said this was a Fire Dragon. I don’t need another fire-breathing dragon. I don’t need a red dragon of the D&D mold. I did need an awesome Blue Dragon, though, so I went with that. Fire Dragon 2 - Base ColorMost blue dragon pictures I’ve seen use a tan/yellow type contrast for the wing membranes and belly scales. In the pictures, it looks pretty good. On my miniature, I HATED the wing membranes. The belly scales looked good, but I didn’t think that color would work well on the large flat areas of the wing membranes. They have very minimal texture, so it’s just a flat expanse.

I replaced it with a light blue. Fire Dragon 3 - Wing Membrane 1It seemed to work reasonably well. I went with a darker blue for the spine plates and intended to go over the entire dragon with a black wash, followed by a lighter shade of blue for drybrushing the highlights.

Fire Dragon 4 - First Coat FinishedIn the end, the final color scheme is pretty pleasing (to me). The scales have some subtle texture which is really nice compared to the doughy faces in some of the character miniatures I’ve seen. I really like this dragon.

Then… I did the wash. What an unmitigated disaster. The scales handled it fairly well, but the wash just pooled on the wing membranes and didn’t sit in the fine striations as well. I hoped it would make them more visible, instead, it was like dumping water on a piece of flat plastic. I almost threw the whole thing out.Fire Dragon 5 - Wash Disaster

Maybe I didn’t thin it enough. Maybe the paint is not formulated correctly (I’m using Privateer P3 paints now). I don’t know. I’m not an expert. It sucked. It didn’t work. In my head I was going “oh shit oh shit oh shit” while my stomach was knotting up like a clenched fist.

I used another layer of the light blue to cover up the wash on the wings (if you’re keeping track, that’s now 3 layers of paint on the wing membranes), and dry brushed the rest of the mini. I then did some touch-ups.

The end result… I’m pretty pleased with. My skill level is probably at the high end of Beginner or low end of Intermediary. The light plays pretty cool on some of the scales, and I think the color I picked for the eyes works really well. Unfortunately, you can’t see either of those in the picture. I have several other Bones dragons, and I learned some lessons on this one that should serve me well going forward… providing it’s not fifteen months before I paint another miniature!Fire Dragon Finished-Unbased

I still haven’t fixed the base, but it stands well enough now. I’ll get around to the base eventually. I painted a couple of metal minis at the same time as this one. I should’ve taken pictures of them, but I haven’t based them yet, either. Maybe once I get the bases done for all three I’ll post more pictures.

I have an Eye Beast, too. It will be the focus of a different blog post. It’s totally NOT a Beholder, y’all. That would be a violation of WotC’s IP. I haven’t based that one, either.

Categories: Bones Miniatures | Tags: , , , ,

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 – 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 (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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