December 2022 Goals

November is a couple of days away from being over. That means it’s time for a wrap up and a new set of goals for December.

I’ve not gotten much done this month. I painted to completion 2 minis. It has been hectic around here so not much painting time to begin with. I am very much hoping to be able to finish these PC minis I’ve been working on. I have started the next and have a little paint on the other two.

This is where I’m at with the next one. This is Ru’ruta the Tengu.

I also have a Reaper Bones Yeti Shaman to paint up for a friend. Hoping that will be a quick paint but turn out better than my average speed paint.

As for other goals I want to start re-organizing the hobby room. I need to make better use of the space I have. I want to take my “shelf of shame” and reorganize it completely to hold more stuff instead of just abandoned projects. And I guess that’s really the only goal I have. It’s a big undertaking. This may take several months of work to actually finish to my liking.

So, not a ton of goals for the month but at least it seems attainable.

Happy Painting,
~S

Mid-November 2022 Update

It is about halfway through the month at this point. I have gotten two of the minis for my goals painted. I still need to base them but since they are a party I want to get them all painted before I come up with a coherent basing theme. I also need to do touch-ups before that.

So here I present to you: Francesco the Swashbuckler and Grizz the Kobold Champion.

Two down, four to go.

Happy painting,
~S

November Goals 2022

Happy Halloween, y’all!

I can’t believe it’s already the end of October. This means new goals for November. In the past I’ve done Minivember but I do not have the time or energy this year to do that. I am also not doing NaNoWriMo for the same reasons.

So what am I doing for November? I am going to continue working on my October goals. I am working on the 6 PC minis for the Pathfinder 2 game I’m in. I have started on the Catfolk Duelist and I am quite a ways into it.

I still have a long way to go on this but it’s getting there. I figure maybe a couple more sessions and then I’ll be onto the next. I have not decided which one I am doing next as of now.

This was a short update but nothing big is going on. So I’m going to keep plugging away at these and I am hoping to have them done by the end of the year.

Happy Painting,
~S

Secret Commission: Zinogre

Earlier this year I was contacted by a client who wanted me to do a job. It took about 30 hours total to finish it. It was a very fun and challenging sculpt. I do regret not getting better pictures before it left my hands. It would not fit in my light box so I made due with what I had.

So now, for the first time, I present to you Zinogre.

This is a 3D print that the client also commissioned from elsewhere. I did the best I could to hide the texture with self-filling primer. I painted this using entirely paints from Reaper Miniatures. The freehand work was extensive and I am so happy with how it came out. The client was very happy with the final product.

This was delivered in May but I have only had time to get to it tonight. Thanks all for checking this out.

Happy Painting
~S

October Goals 2022

Time got away from me and I’m writing this halfway through the month. But better late than never, right?

I did finish the Aaron the Conjuror mini last month. I had painted the same mini in 2013 near the beginning of my painting journey. For a, quick, tabletop job I can already see that I have improved greatly. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever done but it took maybe 3 hours to get done.

Aaron the Conjuror

This month so far has been very busy with real life stuff but I will have some time to sit down tomorrow and work on my newest projects.

I found minis that I think fit the PCs, in the Pathfinder 2 campaign I’m in, pretty well. They will be holiday gifts. The group already knows this and are giving me great input. These are the 5 minis that I picked plus the one I have for my own PC. These are all available from Reaper Miniatures links in captions. All but the one Kobold are made of metal. I could not find one that fit that was not plastic but it’s not a huge deal.

I have already given them an Isopropyl Alcohol bath and have started to remove mold lines and flash. My next step is priming and a wash so I can see things a little better to double check I got all of the mold lines and stuff off.

So those are my goals for the rest of the month and probably next month. I’ll, hopefully, get a goals or update post here in the next couple of weeks.

Happy painting,
~S

September 2022 Goals

I feel like I say this every month but how the heck is it September already? Where did the year go.

Anyway. I have a few goals for September, not many this time as I’ve got a fairly busy month ahead of me. So, September goals are as follows:

  • Paint Aaron the Conjurer for RCL
  • Work on some current WIPs

And I think I’m leaving it there because I haven’t been getting things done when I add a whole bunch of stuff. I just get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I want to do that I rarely finish it all. So starting small for September.

Will build myself back up to painting more when I’m back in my normal painting space.

(I had dental surgery a week ago so I am all out of sorts, it’s a miracle this is getting written, and have a makeshift workspace set up downstairs.)

I have painted the RCL mini once many, many, years ago now so when the chance to do it again came up I jumped on it.

Aaron the Conjuror by Reaper Miniatures

Anyway, short goals list this month. Hope y’all are well.

Happy Painting,
~S

August 2022 Goals

August is here! How did that happen? 

Now that July is over and the whirlwind of personal stuff has settled I can get back to painting. I haven’t picked up a brush in almost 2 months at this point. 

Despite the long break, I was able to pick one up yesterday and get some things primed. I am going to do some Bones 5 KS things to get back into the swing of it. 

I have a few goals laid out though:

  • Work on and maybe finish the Dziewanna bust
  • Enter online Journeyman Miniatures competition
    • Order and start The Morrigan mini 

I guess those two things are probably the only things I’ve got planned. 

This is as far as I’ve gotten with Dziewanna. She’s still very much in the base coating stage of things.

https://warhog.pl/en_US/p/Dziewanna/262

This is The Morrigan from Journeyman Miniatures. I am so excited to get her.

https://www.journeymanminiatures.co.uk/webshop/all-products/full-figures/the-morrigan/

She will probably be one of the more complicated pieces I’ve ever done. The model comes in 15 pieces and is made of resin. When assembled it is about 75mm tall.

So, keep an eye out, fun things are coming!

Happy Painting,
~S

What and Why: Hobby Burnout

Hobby burnout. It’s definitely a thing. But what is it exactly and why does it happen? For the purposes of this post I’m going to focus on miniature painting.

Merriam-Webster defines burnout as: “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration”.

Essentially, it boils down to stressors. Whether it be work, family, or other things it can cause, among many things, long periods of lack of desire to do your hobby. It prevents you from motivating and coming up with creative ideas. It can cause the feeling of being overwhelmed, that you are wasting your time, or it’s feeling like a job when it shouldn’t. 

Being overwhelmed and stressed are just a couple of things that can cause this. Some other signs of hobby burnout could be self-doubt, procrastination, apathy about your hobby, and comparing yourself to others in a less than ideal manner. 

Hobbying is meant to be, first and foremost, an enjoyable experience. But that is not always the case. I have found that societal pressures like achieving “perfection” or simply getting better at what you’re doing can trigger it pretty easily. This thinking got even worse for me when the pandemic hit in 2020. With the lack of in person gaming I felt that there wasn’t a need to paint anymore when they wouldn’t be seen in person. I began to think that I had no reason to get better let alone achieve any sort of “perfection”. For these reasons painting became stressful and un-enjoyable and I hit the wall of burnout hard. 

It isn’t always the same for everyone though.

As I mentioned above it started with apathy. When I finally felt like I could pick up a paint brush again, procrastination hit followed closely by self-doubt. I found when I actually did pick up the paint brush again I would sit there and stare at my work getting frustrated about not having ideas or it not looking the way I envisioned it in my head. I then began looking for pictures of what I was painting and would quickly get bombarded by pictures of what I was working on that were much better than I felt I could ever do. 

 What can you do?

There are many things you can do to combat these feelings. I will break down the following and how I handle these.

  • Taking breaks
  • Talking to friends
  • Switch gears
  • Look for inspiration
  • Challenge yourself

Taking Breaks

I find that taking time away from whatever project you are working on to sort out what you are feeling helps a lot. The time period in which you take a break can be as little as a few minutes up to years. Now, ideally, you won’t take years off of painting but if that is what you need to do to reinvigorate yourself that is what you should do. 

Talking to Friends

When I am stuck it, sometimes, helps to talk to some good friends about what you’re going through. It helps me more if they are someone who shares the same hobby. Talking about this could be venting or just bouncing ideas off of someone else may help greatly. 

Switch Gears

This is, probably, the biggest thing that helps me out. If I am painting a large model I will switch to something small. If I get tired of whatever I’m working on I will switch genres of miniature. For example, if I am painting something fantasy and find myself stuck I’ll switch to something like horror or sci-fi. 

Look for Inspiration

This can be a double edged sword. While it is a good idea to look around for ideas and examples of what you are painting it can be detrimental as well. I mentioned earlier about being inundated with photos of minis that I deemed much better than what I could do. It instilled self-doubt and more procrastination in the form of “I’ll do that mini when I get better.” 

Definitely look around, just keep yourself grounded while doing so to avoid further burnout. 

Challenge Yourself

I have found that along with switching things up that making up challenges or joining something like the Reaper Challenge League helped me a lot. 

Challenges are designed to break you out of your comfort zone. This allows you to try new things you might not normally. It breaks me out of the rut I might have been stuck in and gets me putting paint on something which will eventually bring me back to working on whatever I feel I want to work on.

However, don’t challenge yourself in an unrealistic manner. Like looking for inspiration, challenges can cause frustration. Miniature painting is supposed to be fun and if it takes out the fun it won’t help.

 All-in-all you need to assess what your stressors are and where they are coming from. Reducing these things anyway you can can help combat the burnout. 

I am happy to talk more about my personal experiences with burnout. If you’re interested, drop a comment below! As always, thanks for reading. 

Happy Painting, 
~S

Exemplar Wet Palette: A Review

Greetings, Readers!

I am here to bring you another review of another awesome Game Envy product I received recently: The Exemplar Premier Wet Palette System. I realize as I write this that I’ve never covered wet palettes in depth. I will cover what I can in this post and write up another post dedicated to them at a later date.

As per usual, I have NOT been gifted this product or have been paid for this review and I spent my own money on it. Note: this was purchased through Kickstarter and is not currently, available for general retail, at the time of this writing, it is only available for pre-orders here.

This campaign was very successful. They made $166,319USD of a needed $10,000USD with a total of 3,013 backers.

My initial pledge, before add-ons and shipping, was $30USD. This was the first complete set option including all of the stretch goals. The palette set came with the wet palette in color of your choice (red, blue, green, or black), the dry palette and mixing tray insert (included in all palettes), two (2) sponges, and fifty (50) pieces of their wet palette paper. As for stretch goals I received: an Exemplar palette paper squeegee, a brush blotter sponge, an anti-microbial copper foil palette insert, and an awesome sticker. 

I will be upfront, before we get too far into this, that I do not have experience with other miniature painting specific wet palettes. I have used the Masterson Sta-wet Handy Palette which, while great for miniature painting, is geared towards use with much thicker artist’s paints. That said, the Exemplar, is much easier to work with for this medium. 

There is a lot to go over so let’s jump right in. This is the Exemplar Wet Palette.

This palette is made with miniature painters in mind. The Exemplar wet palette is also geared towards painters of any skill level making it a great option for new painters who may not know how wet palettes work out of the gate. 

It is made of BPA-free polypropylene plastic. This makes it safe to use and recyclable as well as heat and crack resistant. Being made of polypropylene means it is resistant to damage from many types of solvents used in painting products so it is easy to give it a deep clean when needed. If you don’t want to bother with solvents for cleaning it can also be thrown in the dishwasher (most likely top rack only)!

Let’s start with the breakdown of sections. The top of the lid pops open to reveal a storage area. It also has a dry palette and mixing tray inside, more about that in a minute. The storage section can hold up to 8 brushes with caps on and some various tools. If you still want to keep the dry palette handy it will fit into the body of the palette. The lid, when in the up position, doubles as a device holder so you can have your reference photos or favorite media going while you paint.

The Exmplar Wet Palette measures in at 6.5″ x 9.5″ or 165mm x 250mm it is slightly larger than the Sta-Wet Handy Palette (8.5″ x 7″). However, it is not so much larger as to overwhelm a smaller painting space.

All of the components that make up the palette, seen below, are replaceable.

One of the neatest things about this palette is the vent. It allows you to either create a vacuum when the lid is sealed to help prevent mold and keep paints fresher. If left opened it can help to control how much moisture is in it. It does not mean that, from experience, let you open it and it will dry out. It will hold moisture for a very long time. It can, however, be difficult to seal firmly but that is a minor annoyance and not something that would make or break this for me.

Sealed and unsealed vent

Now let’s talk paper. I’ve always been one to use regular baking parchment paper because the paper that comes with the Sta-Wet Handy palette is, in my experience, much harder to use with miniature specific paints. The paper that is made for the Exemplar is…okay. I have had a couple of times where paint seeped through the paper and stained the sponge. Of course, I may have also left the paint to sit for too long. That was easily cleaned out with a good rinse of warm water. So, while I’ll definitely use the paper I purchased I am not sure I will get more when I get low. The Kickstarter claims that the paper keeps paint functional for longer and gives optimal permeation to help with blending and mixing.

Below are the pictures of how my paint separated over time. These colors are a Heartbreak Red sample from Reaper Miniatures, I am not sure if this is available for general retail yet. Then the blue-green, called Jade, is from Monument Hobbies Pro Acryl line. The only thing I did to the paint was pull a line off so I could see how well it was thinning. It may be hard to see in the smaller photos but after an hour it was still at an optimal, for me, consistency. After twelve (12) hours the red had separated enough that I had to mix it back up to use. Then, it is hard to tell but, the Jade separated a minimal amount. Even though they did separate, once remixed they were still at a usable consistency.

However, the sponge is amazing. For being only 3mm thick it holds a lot of water. When I first opened my Kickstarter package I thought I was going to have to double up on them like mentioned on the campaign page. This was not the case. It holds an incredible amount of water for how thin it is. It is made from a foam rather than the more sponge like material found in other palettes. The reason for suggesting stacking is for climate and moisture preferences.

Sponge in palette

The sponge is said to be mold resistant. Which, so far, I’ve definitely not had a problem with that. I am notoriously bad at forgetting that I have water in it. I have definitely ruined a good handful of the sponges I have for the Sta-Wet Handy Palette. The sponge is white which is nice because it is a fairly neutral color. It allows me to see the paint in a truer manner than the yellow ones that come with the Handy Palette. The refill bundle includes fifty (50) sheets of paper and two (2) sponges that are perfectly sized for the palette. I do not know if they will be sold separately or only in the bundle with the paper.

Next up are the stretch goals.

With the package I received a Copper Foil Palette Insert. This foil is anti-microbial which helps it deter mold from growing. It looked like it was going to be very hard to put in the bottom of the palette without crinkling or getting bubbles stuck under it. Surprisingly, it was fairly simple and I had very little issue. I used the paper squeegee to help lay it down. I do enjoy that it is a flat piece instead of wire like I use in the Sta-Wet palette that raises up the sponge and sometimes makes it difficult to keep everything level.

The paper squeegee is what it says. It is a rectangular piece of plastic. It allows you to remove bubbles and creases without using your hands which may not give you as flat a surface as you’d prefer. It also keeps your hands out of the palette.

Paper Squeegee

Now for the brush blotter sponge sheet. It is essentially, what I believe to be, a strip of white cellulose sponge. As for what it does, it is what it says it is. I have been using it to remove excess water from the brush after I rinse it. I, however, believe that it is intended to be used to unload excess paint on the brush after loading it.

There are instructions that come in a PDF in the updates that instructs you to line up the squeegee and cut a piece off. This piece fits nicely in the rectangular section of the dry palette. I like that because it’s easier to keep track of.

So, a quick overview of my opinions on it.

I love that the palette itself is very sturdy and easy to clean with or without cleaning solvents. It is a great size for my small painting area. While the stretch goals seem small I very much enjoy and appreciate them. The paper is just okay but the sponge is amazing.

Overall, I think it’s a great product and if you’re in the market for a new wet palette definitely check this one out.

Happy Painting,
~S

Personal Update: Spring 2022

I have not had time to sit down and write a blog in quite some time. I am working on some review articles very slowly. I have been dealing with the loss of our two cats in 3 months of each other. So it’s been pretty rough around here.

I have also been working on a commission that I can finally share.

This is a 3D print of Zinogre from the game Monster Hunter. It took a total of 27 hours to complete.

I can finally share this since it has been delivered. It has taken up the majority of my time since about mid-February.

I took a break for a couple of weeks to start prepping and working on a bust that was given to me for Valentine’s Day of this year. It is the Ignis Arts bust Dziewanna from their Slavic Legends: Nawia line.

They do lots of absolutely gorgeous resin minis. This is a 1:10th scale model. Aside from general cleaning and priming my copy had zero mold lines and cleanup otherwise.

I started on her eyes tonight. They are still a little rough but for spending about 15-20 minutes I think they look good. There is lots of clean-up to be done before I move onto her skin.

Anyway, that some of what has been going on and I really hope to get those review articles done as soon as I can.

Happy Painting,
~S