Light Miniatures

Never be afraid to paint outside the lines

Month: December 2016

Kifaro

This is a miniature I painted a few years ago, in 2012 actually, but never managed to take decent photos of. My camera really doesn’t like him for some reason. These photos are a definite improvement over my last attempt, at least.

Kifaro comes from Studio McVey’s resin line (which I miss very much, since they stopped making them). He is sculpted by Allan Carrasco, who is probably the best monster sculptor in the world of miniatures and has a wonderful feel for anatomy, of both the real and fantastical variety.

Because he is rhino-ish, I went with a realistic rhino coloring, which is a plain, slightly yellowish gray. This presented a bit of a challenge, to keep things interesting despite the plain gray coloring. One of the things I did to add interest is add a tattoo. I was inspired by “tribal tattoo” designs, but ended up with something abstract of my own invention.

The other thing I did was add color into the grays. I used a lot of very dilute ink glazes to vary the gray tones, and also added red-orange colors to places which often have a bit of extra fleshy color in other animals (though not rhinos, as it happens).

The base is built mostly of cork tile, with sand and putty added to vary the texture a bit, and hide the flat parts of the tile. I quite like building bases this way, because it’s very easy to rip parts off and glue them back in a slightly different position to alter the overall form. Because this sort of moving and reforming is similar to natural processes, you can also get great organically random textures as a nature side-effect of doing this.

Kifaro’s base was the first I built which just sort of rises up out of a wooden plinth, without filling it to the edges. It’s not something you see very often, but I quite like the effect. I have done it several times since, most recently with Desert Wanderer.

Of course, when the sculptor is a master of anatomy, it’s important that the sculpture is anatomically correct. Actually, Kifaro’s caster decided that right between the legs would be a marvelous place to place an injection point, leaving a big chunk of resin there, rather than accurately sculpted anatomy. Some very delicate reconstructive surgery was required to correct the deformity. Just one of the joys of being a perfectionist in this hobby. 😉

He’s posted here on Putty & Paint. Not yet posted on CoolMini, but I will soon.

Introducing “Light Miniatures”

You may have noticed that “althaipaints.net” is now “lightminiatures.com.” Why? Frankly, I got tired of telling people how to spell “althai.” Hopefully the new name will be easier to remember. Why “Light Miniatures”? Playing with light has been a consistent theme in my miniature painting for the last several years, starting with Ruby in 2011 where I set the scene in the late afternoon “Golden Hour,” and especially noticeable in recent works such as Steampunk Leia, Black Arts, and Abalám.

The old domain should continue to work and redirect to the new domain for the next year, until the new domain is firmly established. And I plan to post several times in the next couple of weeks to give people a chance to get used to coming to the new location. There might be a few broken links or images in the next few minutes before the DNS updates with the new settings. If that happens, try clicking on the “Light Miniatures” banner at the top of the page to go to the new domain. After that, please let me know if you see any errors, such as broken links or images, as a result of this transition. I tried to fix everything ahead of time, but there are usually a few things which get lost in translation. 😊

Time-traveling Haley

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated the blog! Between ReaperCon, non-miniature things, and the holiday season, I just haven’t had the chance. But today I find myself stuck at the airport, with a delayed flight, and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to update the ol’ blog. Rest assured, I have much more new material planned for January.

Those of you who have seen my work probably know I’ve long been a fan of Privateer Press’ games and miniatures, especially Cygnar, which was my first faction. So when I saw the epic time-traveling version of Victoria Haley, I was instantly sold. It’s a great new spin on a classic, iconic Cygnaran leader.

For my take on this classic, I decided to go for a much sketchier and more painterly style than my usual. After painting miniatures for two decades, this was a pretty radical change of style for me, but sometimes that’s the best way to grow.

I think using this sketchier style helped me push a lot of things, and in some ways this group of miniatures was a breakthrough for me. I think I took some big steps forward in my ability to sell the appearance of metal with non-metallic paints (nmm) through contrast and highlight placement alone, without smooth blends. I think it was also a big step forwards in my use of color, subtle gradations of warm and cold tones that add complexity, interest, and realism, especially in the whites.

In the end, however, it was not entirely successful. The end result is just too rough, and I should have taken more time to clean things up and smooth them out. (Compare how future Haley looks in the group shot, where she’s slightly out of focus, to how she looks here.) This was fairly quick work by my standards, less than 10 hours per character I estimate. I entered them in the Privateer Press competition at Gen Con, and ended up with a disappointing silver.

Past Haley ended up being my favorite of the three to paint. I love her facial expression, screaming in rage and defiance. Getting the tiny bits of nmm, like the goggles and hair cuffs, to look metallic was a challenge, but I think I managed to pull it off.

In the end, this group was a great learning experience, and it was great to push myself in a new direction, even if it didn’t entirely succeed. I think I can take what I learned about from painting this group, but blend it more with my usual, cleaner, smoother style, and end up a much better painter as a result.

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