Bugbear with Mace & Shield Finished

I finished my first Etsy Bugbear with a mace and shield last night and took some pictures this morning.  I’m fairly happy with him because whatever shortcomings he has paint-wise I do think he does look suitably powerful and brutal.  I can’t help but think that my new friend here would be at home in a Robert E. Howard Weird Tales story.

Of the three miniatures this one is my favorite pose.

For the flesh I base coated with Doombull Brown, washed the whole miniature with Agrax Earthshade, then painted the muscles with Tuskor Fur.  Then I highlighted with about a 50/50 mix of Tuskor Fur and Kislev Flesh, and washed the whole thing (optionally, I think now) with a glaze of Contrast Medium and Reikland Fleshshade.  I finished the flesh with some very small highlights of Kislev, and some Bugman’s Glow along the upper part of his lip.

I haven’t tried to do much with flesh in the past, so this is the beginning of a learning curve for me.  One thing I’m discovering is that once I get past the Doombull stage it is good to dilute my paints on the palette so they are translucent and work on building up color on the muscles.  I will try to keep this in mind for the next two bugbears and going forward in general.*

Tusks and teeth were Dawnstone, Agrax, then highlights.

I painted the leather tunic with Vallejo Russian Green (70.894), washed with Agrax Earthshade and then highlighted with Nurgling Green.

I also experimented with some patches of Nurgling Green to try and make the leather look somewhat old and worn in places.  I’m going to play around with that some more with the next bugbear, which will be good practice trying to develop that technique.  Also, next time I think I might do the highlights of the raised folds with a slightly darker color than I used here to see if I like the results better.

Bracers: Rakarth, Skeletal Horde Contrast, Ushabti dry brush.

I wanted to do something other than my usual “glue on some sand and maybe a rock and bush and call it a day” basing method that I’ve been doing for the last five or six years.**  So out tried out the Slyvaneth Base from Warhammer TV.  Turned out to be simple, which I liked.  The base was primed with Rhinox Hide like the rest of the miniature.  I covered the base with Vallejo Dark Earth (26.218) Texture and glued down a little rock that wanted to come home with me during one of my early morning Social Distancing in the Darkness Hikes up in the hills.***

From there I dabbed Death World Forest all over the base so that the brown texture still showed through.  After that, I washed the base with Athonian Camoshade and dry brushed with Nurgling Green.  Then a light dry brush in patches (not the whole base) with Averland Sunset and finished it off by adding the flowers and brush.  (Chose tan brush over green because his tunic was green.)

Hair: Rhinox, Slyvaneth Bark dry brush

So this fellow with enter the painted ranks for my own contribution to the April painting challenge, which ends on May 3rd.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do for a painting challenge for May yet.  I have a day or two because in keeping with tradition the May challenge won’t end until June 3rd.  I don’t find myself tired of doing challenges yet or feeling like I need a break, so I’ll come up with something.  Not surprisingly it’ll be something that will feed in to what I hope to accomplish myself this month.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to getting started on the April challenge round-up.  It is going to be a large one with lots of great models from many different artists!

This is how bugbears look in real life!

* In addition to the trio of mace bears, I also have three more Etsy bugbears with halberds who are anxiously anticipating any artistic attention that might come their way hopefully (for them) sooner rather than later.

** I’ve been continuing with this “desert basing” method with my poxwalkers because I want the mob to be uniform.  Once they are done, I think I’m going to try some desert texture products on future Nurgle forces.

*** I know the rock wanted to come home with me because I had to shake it out of my shoe and it was a sharp little bugger too.  Ouch!

Forgotten Ones Anthology, Bigfoots & Bugbears

Somewhere in the dissolving folds and mists of space-time, between obsessing over getting my 20 poxwalkers done in less than three years and finishing an Etsy bugbear before the current painting challenge closes on May 3rd, I received my author’s copy of Forgotten Ones, published by Eeire River Publishing out of Ontario, Canada, and it is currently available on Amazon.

Forgotten Ones is a collection of two hundred drabbles featuring “creatures of lore, and ancient rituals,” and happily (for me) four of these tiny tales came from my pen.*

Brass Cat and Carrot Foot would both give Forgotten Ones a thumbs up, if they had thumbs!

I see a number Lovecraft-inspired titles as well as Norse, Greek, Mayan, Biblical references and more as I hold the book in my right hand and scan through the table of contents while I one-finger type this with my left.  (Not bad if I say so myself and I do!)

I’ve written quite a few of these drabbles over the past year or so.  I’ve noticed that with a little practice one develops a knack for hitting pretty close to one hundred words on the first couple of tries.  Sometimes a drabble will lead me into writing a longer story and other times I’m content, like Poe and many others, to leave at least one character screaming out their remaining existence in a wet tomb, whether that be a literal one or a sarcophagus of the imagination and so on.**  

My Forgotten Ones drabbles feature such innovations as a change of viewpoint in an iconic scene from The Odyssey and another was inspired by my general reading about Hellenistic mystery religions/schools.  Then there is the magician in north Africa in danger of being (deservedly though I’m sure he’d disagree!) burned alive … but wait, look, the sky it, it … Eieee! … and my personal favorite of the four, “Robin Never Finished Her Bigfoot Video.”***

I think turning from bigfeet to bugbears makes for a nice segue, don’t you?  I’ve been continuing to make progress on my Etsy Work-in-Progress bugbear that I want to get done before my Paint the Crap You Already Own! painting challenge wraps up on May 3rd.  I completed the base coat colors for all three mace-and-shield bugbears a few days ago and decided to finish at least one to go along with poxwalker #18.

April 20, 2020: Put some base colors on my trio of mace-wielding bugbears

The first time I heard the word “bugbear” was when as a child I heard someone say that something was his bugbear and I thought he meant it was his pet and wondered what a bear that was a bug or bug that was a bear looked like.  Although it was lost as far as I know in the aforementioned mists of space-time, I drew a bugbear in grade school art class not long after.  I remember it looked like a bear and I gave it the head of an ant because at that time (and I still do!) I liked ants quite a lot.

I later on discovered bugbears figured in folklore and then later on, when I was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons, they figured there too as a type of large “goblinoid” that was violent – no real surprise there – and stealthy – considering their bulk a bit more surprising – and not too smart but possessed of a low cunning.****

WIP Bugbear One on April 24, 2020.

To the best of my knowledge bugbears first appeared in D&D with the publication of the Greyhawk supplement, where there is a (to me) silly picture of a furry, ogre-like creature with a tomato, pumpkin or some other such vegetable for a head.

Bugbears really came into their own to my thinking in AD&D some time later and I used them as antagonists quite a bit back then.  I also went through an Anne of Green Gables phase after reading the book.  Naturally this culminated, at its height, with my playing a bugbear ranger-type character, Anneglak, who ran around helping people, even though they initially misunderstood her what with being an eight foot tall bugbear.  Anneglak later considered herself the protector of the Green Forest, and I patterned the way she talked and such after the eponymous Anne Shirley.

Let’s hope the bigfoots don’t start getting organized!

Gosh, it is hard to believe now that I was ever so young.  Then again, it turned out that character, as silly as it all seems now, was beloved by the DM and other players.  Years later, I was talking to one of my fellow players from back then and she asked if I “still had Anneglak’s character sheet.”  I was impressed that she still remembered the character’s name!

Happy memories but back to now.  My current painting plan is to finish up my first bugbear before the end of April.  Maybe even poxwalker #19 too, but don’t hold me to it.  After that I’ll probably continue with my recent painting innovation of actually finishing up projects before moving on to something else and paint the other two for May.

This is the picture that inspired Anneglak.

* A drabble is a 100 word story.  Also see flash fiction for more information on this topic.  For “pen” read “keyboard.”

** Like Poe, Lovecraft, and many others I have a soft spot for burying people alive in my writing.  I’m reminded of that practice, apparently common not so long ago, of having a little bell on one’s grave plot with a connecting string into the coffin so if you end up waking up after the funeral and all of your nearest and dearest have gotten about their business of fighting over your will, you can at least hope someone can hear you.  This is especially important given that cell phones often lose their signal when you are buried in a coffin six feet under the earth.

***  I’ve always had a soft spot for bigfeet ever since I saw one on The Six Million Dollar Man.  Even more so now that my current home is among the redwoods on the California coast where (according to the local bigfoot museum) Sasquatch is alive and well.

 

Base Experiment: Wet, Dark Earth

I have been thinking for awhile now about how to base my miniatures because for the past five years or so I have almost exclusively based my figures by simply gluing sand and maybe putting in a rock or bush somewhere.  Works fine, but now I’m painting miniatures that I don’t want to put in the sand, like dwarves, so I’ve trying out some different things.

I liked some of the bases John did, over at Just Needs Varnish!, so his ideas served as a starting point and spurred me to buy some Vallejo texture pastes.  For my latest base, I wanted to use a fairly easy process to create some wet, dark earth and the pictures below are what I came up with.

The pictures show the bases a bit lighter and grainier than they actually are, but they do convey the general idea.  The basing process I used is as follows:

  • Glued a couple of rocks onto an old, unprimed base, then applied Vallejo Dark Earth Texture (26.218).  I watered a bit of the texture down and used it as a wash on the rocks too.  I used some texture wash on the plant as well.
  • Washed base and plant with Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil in two steps.  Used some watered down Agrax on the rocks, but I skipped Nuln Oil because I didn’t want to darken down the rocks too much.
  • Dry brushed with Gorthor Brown.
  • Applied Glossy Nuln Oil to base and plant.  Thinned the wash down greatly so I would achieve some shine without excessive darkening and applied to the rocks.
  • I think I could do some additional dry brushing with Gorthor Brown again, if I wanted to lighten things up more, but I’m happy with how it looks for darker earth.

For my next basing experiment I would like to try something like what I just did, but add a mud puddle or two to the mix.  This will serve the dual purpose of allowing me to learn something about puddles and to see if I can replicate a base similar to the one I already made.

I recently finished poxwalker #18 in my long-term project of painting the twenty that came in the Dark Imperium set.  I’m going to include this now painted worthy in my April Paint the Crap You Already Own! challenge, and I will put up some pictures of my newest addition to the Painted Horde for my next post.

Any advice about creating mud puddles?  If so, I’d love to read what you have to say in the comments.

It’s a deep subject….

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.