Basing with Vallejo Earth Texture

Since I’ve started doing more painting that involves roleplaying games and less that involves Warhammer 40K, I’ve been thinking about basing more lately.  For many years my basing consisted of some sand with maybe a rock here and there, and the occasional yellow shrub.  I don’t see the majority of the miniatures I’m painting or thinking of painting these days being desert themed, so I figure it might be a good idea to experiment with some different bases.*

I noticed that Baron John Varnish wrote about some bases he did using Vallejo Earth Texture, that look easy so after conferring with him a bit on the subject (thanks, John!) I thought I might give it a whirl myself.

Finally found a use for those square bases.

Turns out I really like this Vallejo texture.  You get a good-sized pot for the price, and all I had to do was slather it on.  No priming or prep work of any kind needed.  I did two bases and washed the larger base on the left with Agrax Earthshade and the smaller base on the right with a 50/50 mix of Agrax and Nuln Oil.

One thing I quickly found was that you only need a little Nuln Oil to darken whatever you mix it with.  My half-and-half mix ended up looking like straight Nuln Oil.  I noticed that the Earth Texture has a lot of orange and retains its orange highlights even with a couple of doses of Agrax.  Now that is fine if you are trying to model, say, clay from a riverbank or what have you, but for the most part I think I’d rather have the tone look more like the smaller base on the right.**

Same texture, different washes.

I wanted to continue along the same likes as John so I finished off the base by dry brushing with Gorthor Brown and adding an Army Painter winter tuft and some static grass.***  The result below isn’t too bad, I think, considering how little work it all took.  Tonight I’m going to put some Agrax on the static grass to make it look a bit matted down and dirty.  I’ll post another picture of that probably next time, along with my first finished dwarf.

I am almost done with the blond guy and all that I have left is shading his red cloak and tiding up the base.  After that I’ll probably finish the orange-bearded one.  I also bought a pot of Celestra Grey so I can base the cloth on my friend’s pig demon.  Will post more pictures once that is done.

Unicursal hexagram 100 wide

* For instance, I don’t see my dwarves as being a bunch of pseudo-Bedouin hanging out with Durin of Arabia!

** I decided to buy some Vallejo Dark Earth Texture (26.218) as well.  Once I get a chance to try it out I’ll report what I think.  That orange “clay” does remind me of northern Maine.  That stuff is pretty common up there.

*** John only reluctantly admits to maybe possessing a couple of ancient, encrusted bottles of GW washes, no doubt scavenged many years ago from a now long extinct FLGS, since as I understand he runs in certain, rarified painting cabals where GW products are heretical.  My discussion here in no way is meant to imply that John endorses, approves of, owns, or tolerates GW products in general.

WIP Dwarves Painting Challenge Update

I’ve made some progress on the four dwarves I’m working on for my first go at a painting challenge, that I’m calling March Might & Magic.*  If you are interested in joining in, check out the challenge here.  There is still plenty of time because the last day of the challenge isn’t until April 3rd, 2020.

Progress on my four WIP dwarves as of March 5, 2020

I worked on painting a little last night and made a bit more progress than what I’m showing in the picture above, which I took on Thursday.  I’m planning on finishing the two axe and shield guys and then the two in the background.

I also noticed that I still have a friend’s pig demon-looking thing kicking around.  I’ve been holding onto the miniature so long it has reached that unhallowed stage on my shelf where it has sort of blended in.  So I thought maybe it was time I worked on the thing and got it back to him.  I wonder if he even remembers I still have it?

Either way, best that I put the pig demon into my paint queue, though not the painting challenge.  I did a base coat of Khorne Red and then Mephiston Red over that on the skin.  Last night I based the hair with Ceramite White, which is not shown in the picture below that I took on March 5th.

Pig Demon laughs at painting challenges.

I’m going to paint the hair to look like flames, using some of the guidelines in the February 28, 2015 issue of White Dwarf entitled “Khorne’s Wrath.”  For the cloak and loincloth, I was thinking of doing them in Crisp White, following the video by Duncan Rhodes.  I was going to do the cloak and cloth in different colors, but I decided that maybe I’d save myself some trouble.

I include poxwalker #18 for scale.  I was thinking of adding it to the painting challenge, but I think I’m going to wait until the dwarves are nearly done before I do so.  It is, after all, inconceivable that I fail my own challenge so I’m going to curb my natural hubris and show some restraint.**

“I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

I hope to have at least one, maybe both, of the axe & shield dwarves done by next Friday and I’ll post them then.  I’ve also been experimenting with basing in something other than desert sand, using some of Vallejo’s texture products.  I’ll post more on that next week.

Unicursal hexagram 100 wide

* When I came up with the name, I was thinking of the first volume, “Men and Magic” of the original Dungeons & Dragons set, though there is an old timey video game series of the same name, which I had forgotten about even though I played the first one.  Thank you to Faust for reminding me!

** This time Pride wins out over Vanity.

March 2020 Might & Magic Painting Challenge

I thought it might be fun to do my own painting challenge, so in the spirit of being able to paint pretty much whatever the heck you want, I offer the March Might & Magic Painting Challenge.*

Rules of the Challenge

  • Post a beginning picture of what you intend to paint for the challenge.  It can be at any stage of work-in-progress, from still in the box to partially painted.  It is up to you.  If you don’t have a blog, you can send me a picture at the email listed on my About page or leave a comment on this page and we’ll figure it out.
  • I will do at least one mid-challenge progress report, which you can take part in or not as you see fit.  I’ll keep an eye on everyone’s sites, who I know is participating.  If I miss your picture you can drop me a comment or put in a ping-back to my blog so I’ll see your update.
  • I’m going to close the challenge on April 3, 2020 at midnight (your local time).  Then I will do a final round-up post.
  • You can join in at any time and add more stuff, if you want, as the month goes along.
  • Models from any company, range, time period, scale, etc. are welcome.
  • Any questions or anything I might have forgotten?  Let me know in the comments.

Best not to let rodent infestations get to this point!

Magic seems kind of obvious:  anything … magical.  Might can encompass almost everything else.  Great heroes and villains are mighty, sure, but so are ordinary individuals of a larger band, mob, or unit too.  Tanks of course, but why not the mighty factory (or remains thereof) that produces such machines?  As for plane, train, and automotive enthusiasts, I’d say your models fit the challenge too.

Primaris snipers by Joe Lai.  Love those bases.  Check out Joe’s stuff on Instagram.

Some random person in a jump suit with a wrench and toolbox would qualify too when you think about the empire/rebel faction/whatever they are a part of.  Even abstract principles like Friendship or Anger could apply since the miniature in question is a single representation of that powerful force.  Anyway, you get the idea:  paint what you want for the challenge and I’m sure it’ll be fine.  (If not, see the footnote below.)

From The Battle of Borodino, 1812, during French invasion of Russia

As for me, I plan on completing my four WIP dwarves.  I will likely add more models as these guys start to look prettier, but for now I think I had better at least get to the highlighting and dry brushing stage before I start looking too closely at anything else.

I’m probably going to include the owl and complete my familiars too.

I am looking forward to seeing what other people come up with, and hope, dear reader, you too will participate in my first painting challenge.


* As John, 1st Baron Varnish, rightly said over here, the “Might” might stand for “Might Get Painted This Month.”  So there is another way to shoehorn models into the “Might” theme if nothing else works! 🙂

And lastly, I had to sneak in a touch of Nurgle: Wudugast’s lovely, little poxwalker, complete with bloated arm, certainly scratches that itch so to speak.  I agree with Faust, who said in the comments that it seems like we’ve stumbled upon this poxwalker in the midst of its transformation!

A friendly poxwalker by Wudugast of Convert or Die!

Poxwalker #17 (MAGAPPXWLKR-XVII)**

I decided at long last to finish up my poor, long-suffering friend, good old Work-in-Progress Poxwalker #17.  I guess it needs a new name now since this zombie is a WIP no longer.  How about Mechanical Arm Green and Purple Poxwalker #17 or MAGPPXWLKER-XVII to use something approaching a more official-sounding Death Guard designation?

Not sure why the silly cat felt a need to wander into the picture.

I didn’t tread into too much new territory with my latest minion, though the belly tentacles sort of went through various shades of purple and blue and purple again.  Oh, and of course I continued my usual practice of putting a ton of work into getting some small, fiddly, inconsequential detail just so, only to cover it with snot, grime and blood.  So there’s that.*

OTOH, toads and Nurgle go together like peanut butter and pus.  Yummy!

I continue to pick away at my four dwarves and hope to get them done by the Squaduary deadline of February 28th.  It is going to be a close thing and right now I put my chances at 50/50.  I am working on them every night though and even if I don’t make the deadline I’m going to continue to prioritize getting them done because I want them for my D&D games.

Speaking of painting challenges, I thought maybe I’d do one or two of my own this year because … why not?  I was thinking of something along the lines of next month being March Marauders and Might where the theme can be miniatures that are either singular, mighty heroes and monsters, such as a giant or a space marine hero/captain/whatever, or marauders in the sense of being despoilers, bandits or invaders.***

A very broad theme indeed, I think.  More on that next time if I decide to do it.  If so, I have a group of six Etsy bugbear-looking things with maces and halberds that seem pretty suitable, and if I’m feeling really squirrelly there is always the Abandoned Lonely Bloat Drone. that continues to languish away in my miniatures case.

Death Guard Symbol 125 wide

* In this case it was the little tri-lobed Death Guard amulet thingie depending from a cord on its loincloth.  I took great pains with getting the red and white bits just so.  I’m not sure if I should try again or not with the amulet on the next one (the yellow loincloth and black leather belt twin of this one) and then unsuccessfully try not to obscure my work again?  Knowing me, I probably will and regret it!  After all, a true mark of a good Chaos Noble is the fact that when “nothing else works, then a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.”

“I am 100% certain I’ll finish those dwarves by the 28th!”

** Hi John. This is the mandatory, pseudo-official Nurgle warning so as not to spoil that period of time you block out each day (or several times each day?) for your tea and baked goods-related activities!

*** They can be good-guy invaders or bad-guy invaders.  It matters not so long as the blood and paint both continue to flow.

Squaduary Dwarves WIP Update (and cat)

A quick update:  I’ve been picking away at my party of four dwarves that I’m working on getting done by February 28th for the Squaduary painting challenge.  I jumped in a bit late but I’m enjoying working on the project a bit each night so I’m hopeful of completing the challenge in time but we’ll see.

I think the familiars want to eat each other.  My money is on the toad.

I’m still putting basic colors on the dwarves, though I have gotten another familiar done in addition to the toad from last time.  So now our musket-toting wizard can team up with either a toad or a cat now!  I went down to the game store today and picked up some paint.  I want to try out the little red cloak tutorial from Warhammer TV.  I haven’t encountered many cloaks with the orks, daemons and such I’ve painted in the past, so this should be fun.  Fortunately, these cloaks and cowls look pretty easy.  Perhaps they’ll make me brave enough to someday tackle that Changeling miniature that has been lanquishing in my to-do pile for a year or more!

So the challenge ends on the 28th, and I hope to get a final picture up by then. Between now and then I plan on putting up a picture of poxwalker #17, who is finally done.

Paint Cat says, “Work harder not smarter!” ™

 

Squaduary and Toad Familiar

I decided that maybe I wanted to get four of my dwarves from last time done soon, rather than just picking away at them haphazardly until they are finished.  Such methods result in completed projects, albeit at a somewhat glacial pace.  The reason for my sudden alacrity is I want to run a one-shot Dungeons & Dragons adventure for up to four players using pregenerated dwarf characters.

So even though it is a little late in the game, I decided to take up Stepping Between Games’s Squaduary painting challenge as a way to motivate myself with a hideously looming deadline.  The idea of Squaduary is you complete a unit of troops and post your progress with the completed squad by the end of February.*  In this case “unit of troops” will be an “adventuring party.”

My Squaduary Attempt (Left to Right): Wizard, Cleric, Fighter, and maybe a Ranger.

I had to figure out what I wanted to do with the guy with the musket in a game where I don’t want any actual firearms, so I decided that he’s a wizard who uses it as a prop or “spell focus” (using proper D&D jargon) to cast his spells.  A little never-runs-out magic gem powder in the pan, a bit of prestidigitation producing a bit of flame and pow!  This time Magic Missiles for everyone!  Next time Stinking Cloud!  Might be amusing, who knows?**

Now all good adepts will agree that every wizard needs a familiar and it just happens that I have a pack of three gathering dust.  I thought the toad most appropriate for a dwarf wizard, though any of them would be fine.  Also happens I am partial to toads and amphibians in general so there’s that too.

Oddly, all those little scratches were only revealed by the camera!

I kept our magician’s familiar pretty basic, though I think it’s cute.  I thought the gold eyes came out better than they look in the picture, but I want to get this post up so I don’t have time to redo them.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing Toad again, since I plan on posting a WIP dwarf picture in a couple of days, so maybe they’ll come out better next time if I’m lucky.

For next time, I am nearly done with Poxwalker #17, and plan of getting a picture of my soon-to-be-completely-and-long-suffering zombie up soon.  (Toad will probably put in an appearance then too.)  I also plan on a quick picture of my current progress with the dwarves for the Squaduary challenge.


* Or the day before the end of February since we get a bonus day this year it being a leap year and all.

** If the idea proves popular, I might incorporate the idea of dwarf and gnome magicians using staves and wands that look like muskets and pistols while not actually changing any of the game mechanics.

Organic Ink 2 … and Dwarves

I was quite pleased to receive my author copies of Organic Ink, Volume 2, a poetry anthology from Dragon Soul Press.  I’m happy that the editors decided to include a bunch of my poems, including a longish one that I was hoping would find a home: “The War of the Jar.”

Yep, it’s February and the Christmas stuff is still up.

I read some of Hesiod’s work as a child and that was the second place I had heard the Pandora’s Box myth.  (I think the first place might have been Rocky & Bullwinkle.)  A few months ago, I happened to be in the middle of re-reading the bit about Hesiod’s five ages of Man in his Works and Days when I decided that it would be fun to write a longish poem set in the third or “bronze” age, and work in a somewhat different version of Pandora than the one I read/heard about growing up.

I’m thinking of doing some other Ages poems.  There is going to be an Organic Ink Volume 3, so if I’m happy with whatever I come up with then I’ll give them first shot at it since they were kind enough to print the first one.  That, and it would be fun (if I can pull it off!) to have all my Ages of Men poems appear in the same series of anthologies.

Thinking the one on the left is a wizard who casts spells from his enchanted blunderbuss!

I haven’t been playing Warhammer 40K, so I haven’t really felt much of an urge to paint more miniatures for that game in awhile.  I have been playing Dungeons & Dragons lately, so I decided to try some of those and ended up with these dwarves off of Etsy.

I wanted miniatures that were inexpensive and had some detail, but were still pretty basic and not hard to paint.  They had to not be fragile, which means being resin they can’t have thin bits that easily break.  (Especially since other people would be handling them.)  These guys at $9.99, including shipping, for a pack of six met all of my expectations.

The dwarf with the beer says, “Hey, you did say this was an adventuring PARTY!”

I’m not sure if these guys would fit into anyone’s upcoming painting challenge, but I am going to try and get the top four dwarves done this month or during March at the latest.  I am thinking of running a one session D&D game where a bunch of dwarves explore a dungeon, and the characters will be based off of these miniatures.

I also bought some goblins, bugbears and some other stuff from (I think) the same seller on Etsy.  I’ve primed the dwarves since I took these pictures and will prime a rust monster when I get home later today.

Next time I plan on getting the third issue of The Dragon Egg Gazette out.  After that, perhaps I’ll have some painted miniatures to show off.