A couple of months ago I took a class with Matt DiPietro of Contrast Miniatures (formerly of Privateer Press) on the use of value sketches in miniature painting, as a first step to establish contrasts before adding color. While the class mostly focused on tabletop-quality miniatures, and I painted a board game figure in the class as practice, I also started working on Patrick Masson’s “Steamthing” bust, as a bit of an experiment to see how this style would work for me in display quality.
Here is the finished value sketch. In the sketch, I focused mostly on the mechanical arms and the head, letting the “zenithal priming” create most of the sketch in the other areas. I’m not sure how well the textures will translate with color over the top; I may need to re-create them at the step where I add color.
One of the things that made me first fall in love with this sculpt is how expressive the face is, despite being just a burlap bag with some stitching and goggles. Patrick, and his brother Thierry who did the concept, managed to instill a lot of emotion in this little robot-thing.
When I first saw it on CoolMiniOrNot (way back in 2009, when it was posted), I knew I wanted one, and was very disappointed when the sculptor said in the comments it would not be cast. It seems a lot of people were interested though, and convinced him to rework some things (like the bottle attachment in back) in order to enable casting. When I rediscovered Steamthing in Patrick’s Putty & Paint gallery and learned casts were available, I immediately asked for one. If you want your own, you should contact Patrick.
I’m excited to start adding color!
This is a very nice bust from www.heramodels.com. It’s supposed to be a prince of hell, so red lighting from below seems fitting.
My final Gen Con project nears completion!
I’m calling it “Negative Space” because, in addition to the obvious art reference, it sounds like some kind of spatial anomaly – very appropriate for a sci-fi scene. The figures are 90% finished; the base still needs to be painted. The main base components are from a laptop optical drive and heat sink mounted on a secret weapon resin block (they make really nice handles for display bases), with your basic plasticard/wire/putty and a Micro Art Studio terminal.
Also, I wanted to apologize for being so quiet of late. I’ve been hard at work getting ready for Gen Con, but I’m holding off on posting my finished entries as I didn’t want to give up the element of surprise. Also, it’s always more fun to wow people in person. Sorry I’m such a tease. I promise to post lots of picture afterwards. You can probably guess what I’m entering: it’s basically everything from the workbench minus what I’ve already shown finished.
This will be my last post before Gen Con. I’m super excited, and I hope to see some of my blog readers either in the competition, in my classes, or just around the convention! I’ll also be doing some demos and volunteering a bit around the MHE area, so please come by and say “hi” if you’re there!
Last weekend I received a nifty little package from Germany. Inside was Forged Monkey’s Tribe Chief Morrow bust, a sweet little gorilla bust sculpted by Raffaele Picca, who is a great sculptor in addition to being one of my favorite painters. The cast was amazingly clean, with only one small bubble and almost no mold lines. Cleanup took only ~15 minutes, and I have very high standards for cleaning a cast before I start painting. I was so excited I started painting at once.
This is the first mini I’ve primed black in a long time, but given the black gorilla skin and many metal areas, it seemed convenient. I started with the face, as that’s the most important thing to get right on any figure, but especially a bust. I always like to find relevant reference material before I start painting, and for this bust, I was inspired by this adorable baby gorilla.
I originally went with red for the leathers, but wasn’t happy with how it looked and switched to yellow. It still looks a bit odd, but I think that once the metals are painted it will fit much better, and provide a nice warmth contrasted with the black. Of course, this was when I started kicking myself for priming black, but a few coats of menoth white highlight provided a good base for the yellow.
Zebra-skin provides striking patterns, and seemed appropriate for a gorilla chieftain. The larger stripes are how most of the body looks, and the finer stripes underneath are from the zebra’s head. No Zebras were harmed in the production of this blog post.
This guy is incredibly fun and quick to paint. I highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself!
I’m super excited about my current project, which will be titled “2084” for reasons which shall soon become apparent. The figure is Lisbeth, by Studio McVey. This is the second time I’ve painted this figure. She’s a total kick to paint—I love the gigantic parachute pants, and there are lots of surfaces which just scream for freehand. Plus, I gave my first copy away, so I wanted a second to keep.
Starting with the prep work. My cast had a bit of an offset running between the folds in her pants, which was a bit of a pain to clean up.
I also decided to do some minor conversion work. Lisbeth comes with a backless tube-top-like-thing which I don’t much like, so I turned it into a full (if short) shirt. I also reshaped her hover-board into something a bit more snowboard and less surfboard.
I added a sign to the base, and started penciling in the graffiti I plan to paint. I smudged some of it with my thumb, but the face you see if going to be a portrait of a guy with a goatee and glasses.
The red is a lot more vibrant than it looks in these photos. I’ll try to come up with some better ones, later.
Old concrete usually has different colored stains, which I’ve tried to simulate here. It won’t be terribly visible once the graffiti is added, but will help the whole thing be a bit more realistic.
At this point you can probably guess who the portrait is, and why the title is “2084”.